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Consumer Laws

Consumer Law refers to the laws that protect consumers from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous debt collectors, debt collection law firms, lenders, financing companies, mortgage brokers, auto dealers, credit card companies, etc. Consumer lawyers can use variety of state and federal consumer protection laws to help address unfair and deceptive practices.

Much of consumer law is concerned with product safety and labeling. Products from cars to cat food need to pass safety tests and adhere to basic safety standards, and manufacturers must have recall systems in place in the event that safety issues are identified. Consumer protection laws also include concerns about labeling. Health claims must be evaluated by government agencies, ingredients and nutritional information must be clearly listed on foods, and product labels may need to provide information about who manufactured a product, where it was manufactured, and how consumers can contact the company to make complaints.

Consumer credit is another large area in consumer law, covering everything from the disclosures which accompany credit card statements to the contracts consumers sign for temporary loans. Many consumer credit laws are designed to ensure that consumers will be well-informed about credit issues, and that companies which extend credit handle consumer information responsibly.

A PIL filed in the Gujarat High Court has challenged the constitutional validity of the central laws regulating co-operative societies, on the ground that it is a state subject. An NGO, Consumer Protection and Analytic Committee(CPAC), in a PIL has sought annulment and quashing of amendment made in the Banking Regulation Act in the year 1966.

Some consumer laws:

Schlanger & Schlanger focuses on consumer law -- including debt collection abuse, negotiating with collectors, and lending fraud -- as a core practice area.

Debt Collection Abuse

Debt collection abuse takes many forms: Abusive phone calls. Threatening and deceptive collection letters. Sharing information about your debts with family members and other third parties. These and similar unfair and deceptive debt collection agency practices are disturbing and unpleasant and are prohibited by law.

Defending Collection Suits

If you are sued by a debt collector, you will automatically lose unless you respond. Ideally, you should respond through your own lawyer.Since most consumers have little or no experience with lawsuits, it is strongly advised that you contact a lawyer in the event that you are sued by a creditor. Defending consumers in collection suit is a core practice area at Schlanger & Schlanger, LLP.

Lending Fraud

Are you the victim of lending fraud or predatory lending practices?
Loan fraud can take many forms, ranging from verbal misrepresentations about the cost of a loan; to failure to disclose loan terms such as the interest rate, amount financed or closing costs; to elaborate scams involving identity theft, forged documents and “straw buyers.” Loan fraud and other forms of predatory lending are characterized by exorbitant interest rates, burdensome fees and costs, lack of clarity regarding loan terms, and high pressure sales tactics.

Negotiating with Creditors

In some cases, a creditor may be open to negotiation to reduce the amount of the debt or in some way alter the terms of its repayment to make it less burdensome to the debtor.
Why would a creditor do this?

Mostly because he wants to get paid and turn his attention elsewhere – as the old adage goes, half a loaf is better than none. A creditor may make the analysis that the time invested in pursuing the debt isn’t worth it and thus may be interested in negotiating a settlement. This is especially true where the creditor becomes convinced that he may face real resistance should he attempt to enforce the debt through litigation.