The Purpose of Consumer Protection laws
In general, lawmakers know that it can be difficult for consumers to take on businesses who treat them unfairly. As a result, lawmakers have created state and federal laws that protect consumers from unfair acts by businesses. These laws give consumers some teeth in seeking recourse for unfair treatment.
Types of Cases
- Auto purchases. New car purchases are protected by Idaho lemon law. Other laws protect consumer in used car sales. Just because a car is sold “as-is,” it doesn’t mean an auto dealer can engage in unfair or deceptive practices when selling it to you.
- Hospital or Health Provider Overcharges. Hospitals don’t tell you what you will be charged and make unpacking their charges impossible for an untrained person. This leaves you susceptible to overcharges.
- Contractor Fraud. With construction booming in Idaho, contractors may take shortcuts to get your job done or even fail to perform.
- Landlord failures and abuses. Landlords may take advantage of renters in a number of ways.
- Debt Collection or Credit Reporting Practices. The law protects you unjustified debt or from harassing or other practices.
- Improper Sales Practices. Both state and federal laws protect consumer from unwanted or over-aggressive telephone solicitations.
- General Deceptive or Unfair Acts. There are many ways businesses can squeeze dollars out of people. If you think you’ve been treated unfairly, you may be right.
See an example of cases that have come through my office.
How do the laws protect you?
In brief, lawmakers incentivize private attorneys to help consumers by creating laws that require businesses who violate the laws to pay the attorney’s fees and costs of the consumer. Without this model, consumers may be left without any professional assistance.
What can you recover for violations?
Under various consumer protection laws, you may be awarded:
- Actual Damages
- Statutory Damages
- Punitive Damages
- Attorney’s fees and costs
- equitable relief
Extra Protection for Seniors or Disabled Individuals
In some instances, if a business violates consumer protection laws against a senior or disabled individual, the laws may apply more severe penalties to the business.
Do you have a case?
Pursuing consumer claims should not be taken lightly and not every bad deal amounts to a violation of these laws. The laws are not easy to navigate. Generally speaking, though, you can rely on the smell test—if something seems wrong, it probably is. If you believe you were treated unfairly by a business, the easiest way to find out if you have a case is to talk to an attorney. And by “an attorney,” this mean the Idaho Consumer Law Firm.