What are consumer rights? The Consumer Protection Act only safeguards only the consumers themselves. Therefore, if an individual who isn’t a consumer or uses products for personal commercial purposes ever files a complaint against a company, then the consumer’s grievance won’t be entertained by the national consumer protection agencies.
Why? Well, the Vehicle Protection Act was passed to protect consumer rights when it comes to the many issues that come up with automobiles. For instance, it prevents car dealers from coming between you and the loan officer at the time of purchasing a used car or repossessing your car if you’re unable to make payment on the loan. The law also requires car dealers to give you a document called the “Warranty of Authenticity” once you purchase a new or certified pre-owned vehicle. The document requires the dealer to disclose to you the parts, components, design, and model number of any part or component that you purchase from them. You have the right to see this document, so it’s in your best interest to ask for it before purchasing anything.
Chapter 13 in the Bankruptcy Procedure Act also protects consumers from abusive, deceiving, and unfair business practices. Chapter 13A is the section that refers to debt collection. This chapter describes the rules that govern debt collectors, such as when and how they may communicate with you and for how long. Debt collection constitutes the third major area of the Bankruptcy Procedure Act that the Bankruptcy Code covers.
Another important chapter that is covered by the Bankruptcy Procedure Act is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This is the provision that protects consumers from being pressured into settling for less than what is owed. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also requires the disclosure of all fees and charges and the statement that the company will not pursue any collection activities if they receive a complaint. The statute of limitations differs by state, so it is important to check with your attorney general or your state attorney general. The chapter also provides additional protections for consumers with a disability or limited ability to work.
The Consumer Credit Act provides additional rights for a consumer. This chapter provides for the right to dispute certain practices by creditors. It also explains who is eligible for a Consumer Credit Counseling Organization. The CCCO is the organization that coordinates and makes payments to creditors to close accounts. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed that the CCCO become a non-profit organization with public service. At present, the CCCO provides these services for free to anyone who requests them.
Chapter sixteen of the Consumer Credit Law provides for mandatory arbitration in small claims court. Arbitration in small claims court allows the parties involved to appoint an “arbitrator” who is an independent “judicial officer” of the court. The arbitration can be performed privately and in a private court. If the dispute is settled outside of a small claims court, the party who agrees to participate in arbitration must pay the costs of the arbitration.
Chapter twenty-three of the Consumer Credit Laws gives the attorney general the power to investigate and monitor debt collection agencies. Chapter twenty-one of the Consumer Credit Laws provides the consumer with the right to make complaints. Chapter twenty-two of the Consumer Credit Laws provides the consumer with information on debt collectors. It is provided free to anyone who requests it.
The last chapter of the Consumer Credit Laws covers debt collectors. Chapter twenty-six provides for protection against unfair and deceptive practices by debt collectors. This includes: requiring that a collector not contact a debtor at work or at school or on a social security card. It also includes: requiring a collector not to promise another to pay off a loan or account unless the account is paid in full. The final chapter, twenty-eight, makes it clear that a lender may be held liable for hiring a collection agency and for false advertising if they have advertised a new vehicle or service and failed to inform the consumer that the new car or service is only available after a monthly payment is made.