Consumer Laws are put in place to protect Consumers (that’s you!) when they buy (or borrow money to buy) ‘Consumer Goods.’ There are more involved definitions of what is (or what isn’t) a Consumer Good. But, here’s a simple one:
Anything that you buy for your personal or household use is a Consumer Good.
Certainly, there’s more to the picture than this. But, the first question that you should ask yourself, if you are trying to figure out if whether you are protected by a Consumer Law because you are about to buy a ‘Consumer Good’ is: What am I going to use this for? If the answer is that you are going to use it for your own enjoyment or at your house – and not for a business – then, you are probably about to buy a ‘Consumer Good’ and your purchase is going to be covered by a ‘Consumer Law’.
The phrase ‘Consumer Laws’ refers to the many laws that have been put in to place to protect people, when they are buying something for themselves. ‘Consumer Laws’ also protect you when you are borrowing money to use for yourself (once again, the main requirement is that the money is for ‘personal’ or ‘household’ use and not for a business).
If you get into trouble, it is always a good idea to be able to find the consumer law that applies to the thing that you bought, so you can see if you can get your money back. But, the purpose of this website is a little different. This site is trying to teach you what your rights are, BEFORE you purchase a Consumer Good. That way, you will understand what you have to do to protect yourself, from the very beginning.
Consumer Laws can be Federal or State laws and cover a great many types of transactions. The areas listed below are covered by Consumer Laws. This means that if you are purchasing (or borrowing money to buy) these ‘Consumer Goods’, there are legal requirements that have been put into place to protect you. Those legal requirements give you certain rights and protect you from someone who might be trying to take advantage of you. If the person selling the ‘Consumer Good’ doesn’t follow the rules, Consumer Laws give you a way to get your money back, or to recover the ‘damages’ that you have suffered.
You are protected by Consumer Laws if you:
- Buy (or lease) a car,
- Borrow money to buy (or lease) a car;
- Buy something that you saw advertised on TV or from someone who calls you;
- Buy something on layaway;
- Buy a membership for a workout place;
- Get a call from a debt collector;
- Use a credit card;
- Try to see your credit report; or find something on your credit report that isn’t true;
- Borrowing money for personal use;
These are just some of the everyday items that are covered by Consumer Laws. There are many more, to be sure. This website explains many areas that are covered by Consumer Laws, but is not able to tell you everything that you need to know to stay protected.
There are many other sites that explain various consumer laws. Feel free to visit those sites as well, to help you understand the different ways that Consumer Laws can help you. Some sites that may be helpful:
- The Ohio Attorney General’s website has a helpful summary of the various Consumer Laws that are only for Ohio.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a helpful websiteas well.
- The FTC also has an online complaint database for consumers to complete if they have been taken advantage of or if they have a complaint about what they bought, or how they were treated. If you would like to see if the FTC can offer you some help, you can log onto The ‘Complaint Assistant’ or call their toll-free number 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
- The Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB), like the FTC, is an agency run by the Federal Government. It was created to provide assistance to Consumers who are borrowing money – whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products. The CFPB can make rules to help consumers and investigate companies that work in the financial services industry to make sure that they behave. They have a great website that includes a page where you can ask someone at the CFPB any question that you want; or make a complaint about how you were treated, when you tried to borrow money (or use a credit card).
If you have any questions about this (or any other) issue; or would like to speak with a counselor, please send an e-mail to [email protected]. We will put you in touch with a counselor and help you the best way we can!