Consumer protection law is designed to hold sellers of goods and services accountable when they take advantage of a consumer’s lack of information or bargaining power just to gain profit, such that the most common kind of abusive business practices is when people fall behind on their bills and where debt collectors do some form of intimidation, to pressure the person concerned to pay his/her bill. Government agencies, office of attorneys general, and by individuals and their class action lawsuits are the entities that usually enforce the consumer protection law.
Common abusive and fraudulent practices by scheming business people are: when people fall behind their bills and debt collectors make intimidation efforts on the person concerned; charging of exorbitant interest rates on credit cards and other loans; hiding fees and penalties in the fine print of agreements seldom read by customers; applying payments to low-interest portions of a loan balance first; false or misleading advertising and many more. The bait and switch advertising tactics, warranty misrepresentation, defective products, forced arbitration clauses, identity theft, and other forms of harassment and fraud are also classified as violations of consumer protection laws.
Any documented harassment and intimidation can result in a statutory damage award of $1,000 for the victim, including the attorney fees, which is stipulated under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and a victim of predatory lending in the real estate market can be protected by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Home Ownership and Equal Protection Act (HOEPA).
Practical and Helpful Tips: Professionals
Hiring an effective and competent lawyer that specializes in consumer protection law and consumer rights to help you in your predicament can help enforce the consumer protection law and penalize the violators with a fine, a prison sentence, if criminal sanction is required. It is important that as soon as you have found a lawyer, you need to discuss with him the following concerns: will your problem by covered by a particular consumer protection law; when to proceed under federal or state law; and the period allowed to file a complaint with the proper agency and a lawsuit with the court.
Looking On The Bright Side of Lawyers
A consumer protection lawyer, basically, handles the following: litigate federal class action and other significant claims against companies that have violated laws protecting employees and consumers from unscrupulous practices; and he represents consumers and businesses that are being subjected to aggressive collection litigation on large sums. In your desire to understand the legal procedures, with your lawyer to explain to you the process, you are able to take the right course of action knowing now that state laws might provide you recourse, but if you proceed under a regulation by a federal agency, you might have to file a complaint in that forum before filing a lawsuit, and this is known as exhausting your administrative remedies.