Laws protecting consumers vary in the remedies they provide to consumers for violations. Many federal laws merely provide for public agencies to enforce consumer regulations by investigating and resolving consumer complaints. For example, in the case of a false advertisement, a common remedy is the FTC-ordered removal of the offensive advertisements from the media. In other circumstances, consumers may be entitled to money damages, costs, and attorneys' fees; these remedies can be effective in a case involving a breach of warranty. Depending on the amount of damages alleged, consumers may bring such actions in small-claims courts, which tend to be speedier and less expensive than trial courts.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR) is another option for consumers. Some states pass consumer protection statutes that require some form of ADR—usually ARBITRATION or mediation—before a consumer can seek help from the courts. Finally, when a large number of consumers have been harmed in the same way as a result of the same practice, they may join in a CLASS ACTION, a single lawsuit in which one or more named representatives of the consumer group sue to redress the injuries sustained by all members of the group.
In response to public frustration over telephone solicitations, many states and the FTC began to set up systems to bar unwanted telephone sales calls. The FTC, in 2002, amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to give consumers the option of placing their phone numbers on a national "do not call" registry. It will be illegal for most telemarketers to call a number listed on the registry. The registry was scheduled to go into operation in July 2003, but telephone marketing companies promised a lawsuit to contest the rules, arguing that they violated the FIRST AMENDMENT.
Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Constituency to CosignerConsumer Protection - Consumer Product Safety Commission, Unfair Or Deceptive Trade Practices, Truth In Lending Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act