Consumer Protection Law
When you purchase a product or service, you expect the company you made your purchase from to be fair and not take advantage of you. Unfortunately, some businesses can be deceitful, costing you money. In some cases, the financial losses can be severe.
Consumer protection lawsuits give you a remedy to hold the company liable for their abusive practices and recover financially for your losses. Working with a knowledgeable attorney can put you in a better position to recover the compensation you deserve.
Types of Consumer Claims
Consumer lawsuits cover a multitude of harms a consumer may face at the hands of a business. They include:
- Breach of warranty
- Loan scams
- Deceptive trade or bank practices
- Privacy violations
- Bait and switches
Claims under consumer protection laws typically prescribe a specific course of action you may take and outline the compensation that you may be entitled to recover.
Depending on the type of claim you have, you may file a complaint with your state's consumer protection agency or a lawsuit against the business to seek damages. Either way, consulting with an experienced consumer protection attorney can help you determine the best course of action for your claim before you get started.
While you may pursue a lawsuit on your own with an attorney, you may not be alone in your suffering. There may be others out there who are pursuing the same claim as you. Instead of multiple individual claims, these lawsuits may be grouped together to form one large, class-action lawsuit. This may help expedite the litigation of the claims and possibly increase the amount of compensation you recover.
Injuries from Products and Medical Devices
Frequently, class-action lawsuits are associated with medical devices or dangerous products. These defective product lawsuits fall under personal injury law. These types of claims allow injured people to seek compensation for injuries caused by:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Warning label defects
While personal injury cases are similar to consumer protection cases, it is important that you work with the right attorney. Look for the terms "personal injury" or "consumer protection" in your attorney search.
Federal Consumer Protection Laws
There are a number of federal consumer protection laws to protect you from companies making dangerous products or taking advantage of consumers. Some of these laws include:
- Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDA)
- Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
- Truth in Lending Act
- Fair Credit Billing Act
- Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
Under these laws, you may file a complaint or a lawsuit to recover damages for the injuries, including financial losses, that you suffered. Depending on your case and what type of company it is against, each law listed above and similar consumer protection laws have a specific process that you must follow.
Because a number of lawsuits arise in interstate commerce due to the increase in online shopping, you may need to pursue a lawsuit in federal court. Your attorney will advise you about whether to file a lawsuit in state or federal court.
State Consumer Protection Laws
Individual states also have their own consumer protection laws. Some state laws take federal consumer protection standards and add extra protection for consumers and make the penalties for businesses even harsher.
Most states have their own Department of Consumer Affairs or a similar state agency to regulate specific industries and ensure consumers receive proper goods and services. These state agencies typically have a process to take consumer complaints and investigate any injuries or financial losses a consumer may have experienced.
A number of states have deceptive trade practice laws as well. These protect consumers from businesses using sneaky business tactics or misleading sales pitches and advertisements. Not only do these laws aim to put an end to these practices, but they also allow wronged consumers to pursue a lawsuit against businesses who deceived them.
Privacy rights are another area of consumer protection law getting increased attention. As more people shop and do business online and use social media, the number of privacy invasions is growing quickly. These state-level privacy laws allow consumers to potentially recover damages for any personally identifiable information stolen and used in a damaging way.
Finding the Right Attorney
Since you are facing a business that likely has an attorney of its own, you should strongly consider working with an attorney experienced in handling consumer protection claims. Some attorneys specialize in specific types of consumer complaints, so make sure to do your research to ensure you find the best fit for your case.
These are civil lawsuits covered by personal injury or consumer protection laws. Frequently, consumer protection and personal injury attorneys provide free consultations to review your situation and determine if they are a good fit for you. These attorneys also typically work on contingency fee agreements, which means you will agree to pay them a set percentage of any compensation you recover at the end of your case. This limits the financial risk to you of hiring an attorney.
For class-action lawsuits, an attorney or law firm may actually approach you first. Sometimes you may receive a notice in the mail that a company you have used is facing a class-action lawsuit, or you may see an advertisement on television or social media for a class-action lawsuit that applies to you. In cases like this, you may still reach out to your own attorney for a consultation before signing any paperwork with a law firm you are not familiar with.