Consumers need to know how and where they are protected in the same way that businesses need to know how their own actions must fit into business regulations. It is an essential part of business, and if you know where you are covered, then you are far less likely to get stung.
From how your personal data is treated to how you can hire a lawyer to get you out of a sticky spot, there are a few critical considerations for you as a consumer.
Your rights as a consumer
As a consumer you have the right not to be misled or deceived, a right to be told the truth, to know where a product is made, to opt in and out of marketing communications and to have your debts collected fairly.
To summarize, you, as a consumer, have the basic right to be treated well and to be told the truth.
Abusive business practices
Many of these rights fall into the category of protecting you against abusive or unfair business practices. For instance, businesses in the United States mustn’t be deceptive or misleading with a product, whether that is through general advertising, their packaging or their labelling. If you fall foul of a practice such as any of these, you have a right to take action.
Another would be debt collection. There are more types of financial service that are commonly used in the US than you might think – student loans and mortgages, to name a couple. An abusive business practice would be for a financial lender to try and collect a debt from you through harassment, being verbally abusive, lying to you or talking to your place of employment or even family members about your debt. Again, if something like this happens to you, you have consumer protection laws on your side to take action.
How to protect yourself
If you do happen to be abused by a business in this way, you must know how to protect yourself. Taking debt collection as an example, you need consumer protection lawsuit experts in your corner to fight for you.
Along with seeking this expert advice, you should remain calm and not lose your temper – even if the collector is losing theirs with you. Do not share personal information with them, and – if possible – record the conversation as evidence. They should listen to you when you tell them to stop calling you, if they have been harassing you for instance, and if they don’t then contact a lawyer.
How to stay out of trouble
Finally, if you are a business and you want to stay out of trouble with consumer protection laws, the advice is simple. Know the laws and stick to them. Tell the truth to your customers, be honest with them and be kind to them. If you are found to be breaking any consumer protection laws, not only could you face punishment, but the public relations hit you will take. The loss of trust from your formerly loyal customers could be irreparable.