Find the right lawyer now

Understanding Consumer Protection Laws

Find a Local Products & Services Lawyer near You

How Do Consumer Protection Laws Affect Me?

While consumer laws affect everyone, many of us don’t make an effort to understand consumer protection laws. Consumer rights can sometimes be confusing, but understanding how consumer protection works is a great way to avoid legal disputes and consumer fraud.

Consumer protection doesn’t just apply to small and inexpensive products. Major purchases such as a home or car purchase are also covered by these laws. Consumer rights can be a major part of other types of legal proceedings like bankruptcy, so it’s good to know some background information in this area.

An Overview of General Consumer Protections

One of the main federal consumer protection laws is the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA). This law makes it illegal for businesses to engage in unfair business practices, mislead consumers, or make false statements. In addition to FTCA provisions, here are some legal concepts that can help you to understand how consumer protection laws work:

  • Express Warranty: An express warranty is a written guarantee included in or on the packaging of a product. It usually contains promises regarding the quality of the product, and will often include instructions for a refund for defective products. Not all products contain express warranties. Express warranties may be specifically tailored to each product in terms of coverage and expiration date.
  • Implied Warranty: Just because a product doesn’t contain an express warranty doesn’t mean you aren’t protected as a consumer. Consumer protection laws automatically provide implied warranties. These guarantee that the product will be of suitable quality and will perform as advertised when used as intended. Implied warranties may be applicable up to 4 years after a valid purchase.
  • Anti-Fraud and Scam laws: Federal and state laws prohibit fraud and scams intended to trap consumers into buying fake, sub-quality, or dangerous products. Scams tend to follow the most popular items in a given year, so be wary of "knock-off" or suspicious products
  • Dangerous Products: State and federal laws have strict laws when it comes to protecting consumers from dangerous products. Any products that are discovered to be dangerous are typically removed from sales shelves through a product recall. You can check to see if any of your products have been affected by a recall by contacting the manufacturer or by visiting various recall websites online.

Seeking Legal Help

Legal remedies will be different for each type of consumer protection violation. For instance, a breach of warranty will usually result in a simple refund or product exchange. In comparison, injuries resulting from dangerous products often result in a damages award for the victim. Be sure to do some preliminary research or consult with an attorney if you have specific questions regarding consumer protection laws.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-14-2015 03:33 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.