What is Consumer Protection Law? How to Find a Consumer Protection Lawyer

What is Consumer Protection?

Consumer Protection Law

Consumer protection is an interconnected series of laws intended to protect individuals and regulate consumer products. In many cases, these laws place additional requirements on businesses to ensure that products are of proper quality and do what they say that they will do.

Governing Law

Consumer protection laws are typically governed and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of Justice. The most common acts include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Billing Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Most states have adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices at the state level as well. Those states that have not adopted this body of law have established their own form to protect consumers. State codes also contribute to these laws as well, though they are not the primary source.

Reasons for Hiring an Attorney

The most common reason for hiring a lawyer, whether from a law firm or a solo practice, is for the breach of a consumer warranty and service contract. Since consumer protection laws are intended to protect consumers from foul play, breached warranties, and the like, you will need one when you run into a problem with a corporation or a business that refuses to honor its warranties or its contracts. This typically occurs with appliances and vehicles. Remember though that the statute of limitations run quickly on these cases. If you do not get the case filed within the appropriate amount of time, you will be barred.

Even if the business or corporation who broke the warranty insists that you must go through internal procedures first, it is still beneficial to get an attorney to assist you through the process. The mere fact that you are represented will make the business or corporation more inclined to take you seriously. Having an attorney also makes it more likely that the case will settle out of court rather than having to go through the entire procedure, although this is not a guarantee.

Things to Look for in a Consumer Protection Lawyer

The first thing to look for is a lawyer who has experience in consumer protection laws. Some states have specialist certifications that you should look for as well. However, it is also beneficial if the lawyer has a background in the UCC and commercial transactions. Business lawyers often fall into this category. Since this particular body of law falls into a subset of commercial, personal injury, and business law, lawyers your area may not advertise it prominently. A good place to start is to contact business lawyers in your area and find out if they handle these matters. UCC specialists may also handle this kind of work. If you or a family member was injured, however, the best choice is typically a personal injury lawyer with a specialization in consumer goods.

Lawyer, whether in law firms or solo practice, in this line of work often work for contingency fees. This means that you only pay them if you win the case. Make sure to discuss this with the attorney though to ensure that there is clear understanding about what this covers. Additionally, find out about the costs and fees. Generally, these are not included unless you win. So if the case is lost, you will still have to reimburse the lawyer or law firm for filing costs, resources, and other similar fees. This should not include research and the like, but make sure that that is clear in your initial consultation and before signing an agreement.

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