Consumer laws are state, federal and local laws that protect consumers. A consumer is someone who buys products or services for personal or household use. Consumer protection laws do not cover goods or services bought for business purposes.
Consumer laws protect consumers against defective or faulty goods or services. They also protect consumers from unfair businesses practices and false advertising. Consumer laws alert consumers about frauds and scams in certain industries. They also offer protection and compensation to consumers who fall for such scams.
As a consumer, you have certain rights in consumer transactions. You should understand your rights related to the following:
- the type of advertising that gets you to buy the product or service;
- cancellation of the agreement to buy the product;
- refunds or exchanges;
- product warranties and service contracts;
- unsafe, defective and recalled products; and
- scams and frauds.
Certain types of transactions offer more consumer protection than others. There are more consumer protections for more expensive items and services. Consumer laws offer more protection to people who might be at risk, like the elderly. With some contracts, the seller could take advantage of the consumer. The law offers more protection when you enter into the following types of contracts:
- home improvement contracts;
- moving contracts;
- funeral service contracts;
- health club membership contracts;
- travel and airline contracts.
Sometimes, consumers make purchases they cannot pay for in cash. They can only buy the item or service with a loan or payment arrangement. Consumer protection laws also cover contracts that consumers enter into to finance purchases.
It is important to understand all your rights and obligations as a consumer. You may need the help of an attorney to resolve a problem or prevent it before it happens.
Legal Editors: Mark Grossman, Esq. and C. Jaye Berger, Esq., May 2018
Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.