In our fast-paced world where many big businesses’ and individuals’ major goals are to make a profit, individuals may not feel that they have many protections from being cheated or taken advantage of in their day-to-day transactions. Consumer protection laws have been enacted to prevent businesses and individuals from engaging in fraud and unfair business practices when dealing with consumers who have less information, knowledge, and bargaining power. These laws deal with everyday issues where people can suffer serious financial losses when purchasing goods, entering into contracts, obtaining credit, traveling, and much more. If you believe that your consumer rights have been violated, you need the help of an experienced consumer protection attorney who understands the many laws that could apply to your situation and is dedicated to fighting to protect consumers.
What Are Some Consumer Rights Laws That Protect You as a Consumer?
Both federal laws and Virginia state consumer protection laws protect you as a consumer. Often the laws were enacted in response to widespread incidents of fraudulent business practices that were injuring people in their everyday lives. These laws protect consumers from unsafe goods, unfair loans and contracts, identity theft, and many other scams and financial losses. They also give consumers the right to sue for violations of their rights and to receive compensation. There are too many consumer protection laws to mention them all. Here are some basic protections that you have under federal consumer protection laws:
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law prohibits a debt collector from engaging in unfair and deceptive acts or practices when collecting debts. For example, it prohibits debt collectors from threatening actions it cannot take, like having a person arrested for owing a debt. It also gives consumers the right to demand documentation that they owe the debt if they do not believe that it is theirs.
- Truth in Lending Act. The Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to provide important financial details about loans that consumers are entering into and has a detailed form that must be used to provide this information in a manner consumers can understand. Some of the information that must be provided is the annual percentage rate, which is similar to the interest rate, the amount of interest or financing charges owed over the term of the loan, the amount financed, the monthly payment, and the total amount to be paid.
- Fair Credit Billing Act. This law gives consumers a means to dispute charges on their credit cards in writing and requires credit card companies to investigate these disputes and remove incorrect charges. It also protects consumers from unauthorized charges if their credit card is stolen and used, such as in an identity theft situation.
- Fair Credit Reporting Act. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit reporting agencies are required to give accurate information about consumers to lenders. Consumers also have a right to a copy of their credit reports, including obtaining a free copy annually. If they find an inaccurate credit entry on their credit report, they can dispute it, and the credit reporting agency is required to investigate and correct it if it is an error.
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This law prohibits creditors from discriminating against a person based on race, age, sex, color, marital status, religion, or national origin in determining whether he is credit worthy.
- Electronic Fund Transfer Act. This law protects consumers when transferring funds electronically, using an ATM, paying for goods with a debit card, and paying a bill over the telephone. It limits a person’s liability if the card is stolen and from other fraud.
- Title III. This is a section of the Consumer Credit Protection Act that limits the amount that can be garnished—or taken—from an employee’s wages to pay a debt where the creditor obtained a court judgment. No more than 25 percent of the wages can be garnished. It also prohibits an employer from firing an employee because of a garnishment.
- Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act requires manufacturers and sellers to provide detailed disclosures regarding their warranties in clear, easy-to-read language. It also gives consumers the right to sue a seller or manufacturer in court if the warranty is not fulfilled or for other violations of the Act.
Let Greenspun Shapiro PC Help You Enforce Your Rights as a Consumer
At Greenspun Shapiro PC, our experienced consumer rights attorneys have years of experience helping consumers enforce their rights under federal and Virginia consumer protection laws. We understand how violation of these laws can cost individuals financial losses and other injuries, such as loss of credit, humiliation, worry, and stress. We are dedicated to providing personalized and thorough representation to help our clients enforce their important consumer rights and achieve a favorable legal outcome.
If you believe that your rights as a consumer were violated, call our office or start an online chat to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and explore your options for compensation.