A consumer is a person or a group who purchases goods and services for various needs. This definition signifies that we are all consumers, and as consumers, we have rights that we can exercise for our protection.
Every consumer has basic rights that every business that manufactures and sells goods and offers services must respect. These include the right to safety, to choose, to be informed, to consumer education, the right to be heard, and the right to seek redressal.
To have the power to exercise your rights, you need to familiarize yourself with key consumer protection laws and how to file a consumer complaint. Read all about it in this detailed guide.
Consumer Protection laws you should know
Consumer Protection Law
The Consumer Protection Law is an area of law overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and managed by the Bureau of Consumer Protection. It protects every consumer from unethical and careless actions by businesses.
The protection bureau achieves the objective of the law by setting and enforcing rules and regulations for every commercial transaction. Besides this, they also place restrictions on how businesses may handle the transfer and security management of consumers’ personal information.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The FCRA is the area of law enacted to regulate the collection of credit information. It focuses specifically on credit reporting businesses such as consumer reporting agencies. This law holds them responsible for the accuracy and security of personal information collected and shared with third parties.
The law limits who can access a consumer’s credit history while allowing them to read their credit reports and contest any inaccurate information.
Laws against deceptive advertising
The marketing and advertising division of the Consumer Protection Bureau focuses on enforcing laws against deceptive advertising. Deceptive advertising is when images and words are used in any format to directly or indirectly imply untrue claims about a product.
Besides that, omitting necessary information from an advertisement is also considered deceptive. Mostly anything that would affect consumer behavior or decisions about the product or service must be truthful to not violate these laws. You may read more about this on Agoda’s issue about deceptive advertising last year.
The Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCPA)
The FTC created this law to protect consumers from unfair actions by third-party debt collection businesses attempting to collect outstanding debts on behalf of another entity. This law prohibits deeds such as abusive rhetoric, harassment, and deceitful behavior when collecting debt from a consumer.
How to file a consumer complaint
As mentioned above, consumers have the right to be heard, the right to be safe, and the right to seek redressal. If you’ve experienced any problem with a business’ services or products, you have the right to file a complaint. There are resources available if you need assistance in filing, including the government.
If you want to file a consumer complaint, here are the steps you can follow to get started:
- Collect your documents
Gather all records of your transactions with the business you’ll be filing a complaint against. This includes sales receipts, warranties, contracts, or work orders. You should also include logs of any contact you’ve had with the business regarding your purchase or subscription.
- Contact the business
Write a formal letter of complaint addressed to the business. In the letter, state your issue clearly and include the records you gathered and other important details. If the business has a salesperson or customer service representative, you can direct your letter to them. If a salesperson can’t help you, direct your complaint to the management team.
- Contact third parties for assistance if your complaint wasn’t resolved
Suppose the seller or provider didn’t work to resolve your issue. In this case, you can go to a government office or a third-party entity that assists consumers regarding this matter, including Consider The Consumer. We encourage our readers to send us their complaints to help them solve their problem and get compensation for any damages it may have caused.
Staying informed is the best way to protect your consumer rights from unethical business practices. We urge you to file a complaint should you experience any of them. Consider The Consumer advocates for consumer protection and rights to establish a healthy and fair market.
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