Consumer law involves all of the regulations and statutes that seek to create a more equitable balance for buyers in the marketplace and prevent sellers from using dishonest tactics. A consumer is any individual who purchases goods or services, which may be sold by manufacturers, wholesalers, or retailers.
Both state and federal laws play a role in regulating consumer law. These laws range from prohibiting false advertising and imposing product safety measures to regulating debt collection practices and protecting consumers’ identifying information. Consumers often find themselves needing legal help after falling victim to an online scam, purchasing a car or other product without being told of hidden defects, or losing money in financial schemes, such as identity theft or unauthorized credit card charges.
Terms to Know
- Consumer Goods – Personal property purchased primarily by an individual for personal, family, or household uses
- Consumer Protection Laws – Laws designed to protect consumers against unfair trade and credit practices involving faulty and dangerous goods or dishonest claims or tactics
- Warranty – An express or implied promise that a product or service is of acceptable quality or standards
- Consumer Product Safety Commission – A federal agency that establishes mandatory product safety standards to reduce the unreasonable risk of injury to consumers
- Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act – A federal law requiring that warranties for consumer goods be fully and conspicuously disclosed in readily understood language
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act – A federal law prohibiting creditors from discriminating against applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, or marital status
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