Consumer Rights: Consumer Protection Laws
Consumer protection laws are a form of government regulation. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces several of these laws. They make sure the rights of consumers and businesses are protected in the marketplace, and help prevent exploitation. These laws exist primarily to protect the consumer. A consumer is someone who buys goods and services for direct or personal use, not resale. Sometimes, these laws aren’t enough, and lawsuits get filed when consumer rights are violated. In the event your rights are violated, you may need to seek legal counsel. The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. may be able to help.
Why do We Need Them?
If you’ve ever been overcharged for something or billed for a service or product not received, you expect to be reimbursed, right? The warranty on your new washer and dryer? CPL’s require manufacturers and sellers to explain warranty coverages. Without consumer protection laws, you would have no recourse from overbilling, unauthorized billing, or even understanding what your warranty covers.
A few of the federal and state “Acts” that protect consumers are:
- Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act – requires manufacturers to detail warranty coverage.
- Truth in Lending Act (TILA) – prevents credit card companies for charging you more than $50 for unauthorized purchases.
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) – prevents collection companies from using unfair practices to collect money owed.
- Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act – allows for consumers to sue for a variety of consumer law violations.
These are just a few of the laws at work for consumer protection.
In the state of Florida, the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General is the civil enforcement authority for violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The CPD goes after people and businesses that use biased and unconscionable business practices. Recently, Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office shut down a loan scheme that was charging consumers for services they could do themselves for free.
Organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) will take complaints and investigate businesses that may be suspected of abusive business practices. You can also take part in protecting yourself against bad business practices by simply being a smart consumer. Shop the best prices and services. Write reviews for companies you’ve done business with to educate others. Know your rights, and if you can’t solve the problem yourself, seek legal counsel. You may need to file a lawsuit to have your issue resolved.
The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. focuses on bankruptcy, creditor harassment, debt litigation and negotiation, foreclosure defense and loan modification. Michael Ziegler is an active member of the Consumer Protection Law Committee of The Florida Bar and can help solve a variety of debt-related issues. Call today at (727) 538-4188 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.