Common Questions About Consumer Law
As a consumer, you have the right to buy goods and services from sellers without worrying about being scammed, taken advantage of, or misled.
Unfortunately, consumer rights violations happen all the time. That’s why consumer law exists: to protect your rights and give you peace of mind.
Our experienced consumer law attorneys have also put together helpful information about federal consumer laws and Oklahoma consumer laws below.
If you’re the victim of a consumer law violation in Oklahoma, call Carr & Carr at (866) 510-0580 for a free consultation, or fill out an online form. We work hard to fight for your rights.
What is Consumer Law?
Consumer law refers to the group of laws that protect the public at large from dishonest, unfair, or abusive business tactics. Also called consumer rights or consumer protection law, consumer law is designed to hold manufacturers, individual sellers of goods and services, retailers, or wholesalers accountable for their actions.
There are state and federal laws that regulate consumer laws. These laws are enforced by government agencies and lawsuits filed by victims.
What are Some Common Consumer Law Cases?
There are many different types of consumer law cases. You can find some of the most common cases below.
If you fall behind on your bills, a debt collector can contact you to request payment. What they cannot do, however, is call you in the middle of the night, call you too frequently, call your place of business, or call your family members and friends to collect the debt. Consumer laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from harassment from debt collectors.
The Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to make fair, honest loans. They can’t mislead consumers or use bait-and-switch tactics to attract new customers. Dishonest practices include charging unreasonably high interest rates, hiding fees and penalties in the fine print, or failing to disclose certain loan information.
Fair credit reporting
Companies must accurately report information on your individual credit reports. You also have the right to review a copy of your credit report for free, as stated in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
If you find inaccurate information on your report, you can formally dispute it with the creditor. This information has to be corrected or removed. The Fair Credit Reporting Act also protects your information from being shared to anyone who doesn’t need it or may use it against you.
Misleading or false advertising
Several federal agencies protect consumers from false or misleading by regulating business practices. The Food and Drug Administration is one federal agency that requires certain information on product labels.
Any cosmetics product, for example, needs to have all ingredients, color additives, or fragrances identified on the label, in a certain type size and location according to the FDA’s cosmetics labeling guide. These regulations are meant to inform consumers of what they’re buying.
What are Some Consumer Laws in Oklahoma?
Consumer laws can be regulated by state or federal agencies. Here are some examples of consumer laws in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s Lemon Law
A “lemon” refers to a new vehicle with a major mechanical defect that can’t be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts. In Oklahoma and many other states in the country, lemon laws explain what consumers can do if they’ve purchased a lemon.
If you purchase a car from a dealer in Oklahoma and suspect it’s a lemon, you must report it immediately, in writing, within one year. The manufacturer, manufacturer’s agent, or dealer can then attempt to fix the problem. If it can’t be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts, you can have the vehicle refunded or replaced.
There’s no state agency in Oklahoma that enforces this law, but a consumer law attorney can help you file a lemon law claim if needed.
Fraud, scams, and price gouging
Since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, numerous reports of potential fraud or price gouging have been filed with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office.
Oklahoma’s Emergency Price Stabilization Act (EPSA) went into effect to prevent price gouging during times of declared emergency. People or businesses could not charge prices higher than 10% more than what they previously charged before the emergency declaration.
Other examples of pandemic-related scams and fraud included:
- Phishing emails pretending to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Fraudulent unemployment assistance correspondence
- Fraudulent test kits, vaccines, and cures
- Scam text messages or robocalls
- Fraudulent utility collectors or charitable organizations asking for money
Home repair fraud
Unfortunately, fraud claims increase following a natural disaster, such as a tornado. The Office of Attorney General in Oklahoma has a number of resources to help with disaster and home repair fraud, but’s worth noting some of the biggest signs of this type of fraud:
- A contractor goes door-to-door or contacts you by phone to let you know they can help with repairs.
- The contractor does not have a local address and arrived in the area following the disaster.
- The contractor requires a substantial payment, usually upfront and in cash.
- The contractor does not use a written agreement for the project.
Consumer claims are such an issue in Oklahoma that the state even has a Consumer Protection Unit, where you can file claims and report businesses/individuals.
How Can I Protect Myself as a Consumer?
You can take steps to protect yourself from falling victim to unscrupulous, fraudulent, or unfair business practices.
Before purchasing a new car, securing a new loan, or opening a new credit card, do your research.
Research the car dealer, bank, or lender. Carefully and thoroughly read every warranty, offer, or legal document before signing and agreeing. Keep all paperwork for your records in case you need to file a claim.
If you’re dealing with a debt collection agency, make note of when and how often collectors call you. If you’ve communicated in writing that they stop making contact with you to collect the debt, and they continue to do so, keep track of their calls and correspondence.
You should also report any businesses or individuals who’ve engaged in fraudulent activity to the Consumer Protection Unit if you’re in Oklahoma. Sometimes, though, protecting yourself isn’t enough, and you may be hurt by a business, corporation, or other organization.
A consumer law attorney can help you fight back and seek compensation.
Consumer Law Attorneys at Carr & Carr Can Help
If you need help with a consumer law case, contact Carr & Carr. We do more than simply fight for our clients. Each of us, from the receptionist waiting to greet you to the paralegals and consumer law attorneys, genuinely cares about you. We’re ready to listen to your concerns, help you understand your legal options, and fight for your rights.