The United States is a consumerist society. The American economy is made vibrant by the number of options the public has when it comes to goods and services. It is, however, not uncommon for seller of goods and services to resort to certain practices, which range from simple misleading to downright fraud, in order to attract buyers. With the increasing number of retailers and service providers turning to the online platform for business, cases of abusive business practices also increased. The U.S. Congress, by virtue of its constitutional mandate to regulate interstate commerce, created the Bureau of Consumer Protection to protect the public from these abusive business practices. In accordance with federal legislation, states create enforcement agencies for the public to lodge their consumer rights complaints. Consumers also have the option of suing the seller.
One of the foremost consumer rights law is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Not a few years ago, the United States experienced a financial crisis that was a result of risky "subprime" lending. Under this type of lending, banks loaned to people with poor or zero credit histories, which made it difficult for them to pay their loans. As a result, many homes were foreclosed and the court dockets were flooded with consumer bankruptcies. Under the FDCPA, banks and lending institutions are prohibited from using harassment to collect unpaid balances. The two other leading consumer rights law are the Home Ownership and Equal Protect Act and the Trust in Lending Act, which prohibit predatory lending practices by imposing exorbitant interest rates, hiding fees and penalties, and applying payments to low-interest portions of a loan balance. Consumer rights law also include protection by buyers from false advertising, warranty misrepresentation, defective products, forced arbitration clauses, identity theft, and telemarketing fraud.
One of the tricks that sellers employ is hiding abusive terms and conditions in the fine print of agreements. When it comes to borrowing money, it is best to seek the help of a consumer rights law attorney during the processing of such loan so that the fine print of the credit agreement can be reviewed and the attorney can assess whether the agreements are abusive or not. Consumers, however, are not very keen in hiring consumer law attorneys when they purchase certain products as they involve only a small amount and employing an attorney would be more expensive than the price of their product. When faced with a possible violation of consumer rights law, consumers group together to pressure the seller to compensate them.
Violation of consumer rights law is the subject of numerous individual and class action lawsuits in the country. Similarly situated individuals are likely to group together and go after a seller or many sellers as the economic damages in individual consumer rights suit is relatively low. With a class action, the group can push for higher economic damages due to the number of members in the class. The costs of filing a suit against a seller cannot be recouped when individuals would separately file suits. When opting to join a class suit, it is best to hire a consumer rights attorney to fight for the rights of the consumers as a group and to fight for the rights of the consumer as an individual.