Consumer law has been in existence for quite some time. Consumer law was created to protect customers in the market against wrongful trade practices by suppliers. First, let’s examine who a consumer is. Several definitions state that a consumer is an individual who explores the market to purchase goods and services, which are sold or distributed by retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. Often at times, manufacturers and retailers have been known to exploit consumers when products are in the market, by hiking up product prices so that they can get extreme profits. Consumer law, therefore, ensures that an equitable balance is created in the marketplace to ensure sellers are not exploiting consumers in the market.
Consumer laws are usually created and regulated by the federal government. These laws are brought about by the government to ensure consumers are protected from unfair business practices. By enforcing these laws, consumer rights are enhanced, and consumers are allowed to report any unfair business practices that they encounter.
The government enforces the law to ensure business organisations place themselves honestly in the market. For instance, consumer law prohibits businesses from false advertising, imposes the safety measures of a product, and places regulations on debt collection. When suppliers are honest about all this crucial information, consumers are able to make better decisions before committing themselves to any services or products.
Consumers find themselves in a tough situation when they have been preyed upon and are victims of online scams or false advertising. At this point, the consumer can use consumer law to their advantage. This is because consumer law covers a variety of areas such as privacy rights, product liability, fraud in business practices and misrepresentations. Consumer lawyers can assist customers that have been unfairly treated.
Consumer Law Protection Cases
As stated earlier, consumers usually find themselves in vulnerable situations unknowingly, before realising that they can use consumer law to their advantage. Some situations include:
Debt Collection- Individuals with huge debts usually fall victim to uncalled for business practices from suppliers. When one fails to pay their bills on time, debt collectors can make a consumer’s life miserable. This is by calling at ungodly hours demanding for bills to be paid, coming to the debtor’s place of work, or talking to their family members. By employing consumer law, an individual will be saved of all this embarrassment and torture, since consumer law prohibits this kind of harassment to a consumer. When such practices are reported, it can result in damages amounting to $1000 to the victim harassed by the debt collectors. Similarly to workplace bullying lawyers, consumer lawyers represent victims of illegal debt collection tactics.
False Advertising- Consumer law inhibits business organisations from carrying out false advertising of their products and services. A standard example includes when car dealers advertise automobiles at a low price, and when one goes to purchase, they find the sale is not available. They then may be pressured into buying another car on uncertain terms. This type of advertising that baits consumers and then switches the purchase terms is banned by consumer law and should be reported.
Predatory Lending- This type of case concerns consumers who fall victim of extreme interest rates on loans or credit cards. These interests rates are usually hidden in the fine print, which consumers rarely read to gain a full understanding. Most consumers typically fall prey to this predatory lending when committing themselves in the real estate market, or money lending scams.
Consumer law is mainly tasked to protect consumers by enforcing laws passed by the government. This helps cut unfair competitive business practices and prevent businesses from soliciting consumers. Different countries in the world have various regulations to ensure consumer law is upheld and respected by all individuals for the benefit of consumers.