In a world where any product or service can be delivered instantly to a shopper’s door, there is more potential than ever for consumers to fall prey to scams or fraud. Nearly any provider of goods, credit, services, or insurance has the ability to take advantage of its customers, with abusive business practices ranging from deception to outright theft. When this happens, consumers have the right to sue companies under federal and state laws to recover the money they have lost and be compensated for the suffering they have endured.
Types of Consumer Protection Cases We Handle
Consumer rights laws were created to protect people from unfair business practices and give consumers a way to fight back against profit-hungry corporations. Our experienced Consumer Protection Lawyers assist consumers across the Kansas City metropolitan area who have been victimized by the unfair, unethical, or illegal actions of a service provider or product manufacturer—and we do not collect any payment until we secure a recovery.
We advise clients on a variety of consumer protection cases, including:
- Predatory lending. Banks and lenders have to adhere to certain federal regulations and practices when lending money and extending lines of credit. Under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Home Ownership and Equal Protection Act (HOEPA) of 1994, lenders who do not disclose the total cost of a loan (including interest) at the signing of the promissory note, attempt to hide fees and penalties in the fine print, or apply payments unfairly can face legal action. In addition, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits deceptive practices among lenders, real estate agents, construction companies, and mortgage brokers.
- Predatory debt collection. Consumers retain certain rights even when they owe money to a company or debt collection service under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under FDCPA, if a debt collector calls in the early morning or late at night, contacts a debtor at work, or attempts to speak to a debtor’s friends and family, this may constitute harassment and entitle the debtor to damages of $1,000 plus attorney fees.
- Consumer fraud. Companies who engage in unfair business practices to profit illegally from customers may be guilty of consumer fraud. Common examples of fraud include deceptive sales tactics, misrepresenting the quality or function of a product or service, “bait and switch” sales, improper billing, false or misleading advertising, repressing unfavorable reviews or studies of a product, warranty misrepresentation, identity theft, and misrepresenting the source of goods offered.
- Telemarketing and telesales violations. In 1914, the U.S. government created the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promote consumer protection and enforce a variety of consumer rights issues. One of these is the National Do Not Call Registry (DNCR), which requires telemarketers to stop calling consumers who request that they do so. Telemarketing firms who continue to harass customers with unwanted sales calls may be subject to legal action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA).
- Insurance bad faith. Insurance companies have a legal duty to deliver coverage under the terms of their policies. Unfortunately, some insurers deny, delay, or underpay claims in order to retain a maximum amount of their profits. If an insurance company wrongfully denies payment, fails to adequately investigate a claim, fails to settle a claim within the policy limits, or otherwise acts in bad faith, the company can be held liable for the policyholder’s financial and personal suffering.
- Product liability. All products offered for sale to the public are required to meet various federal safety standards to ensure they are reasonably safe for consumers. If a consumer is injured by a product that was badly designed, poorly manufactured, or improperly marketed, he or she may sue the manufacturer for any costs related to the injury.
- Product safety laws. Some product liability claims may involve a violation of consumer safety laws, deceptive trade practices, and other illegal activities. The Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and the Federal Food and Drug Act (FFDA) outlined the requirements for makers of food, drugs, and cosmetics, and created the formation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration to enforce these laws.
- Class action lawsuits. Victims may shy away from filing consumer claims due to the overwhelming amount of time and effort involved in taking on a company with deep pockets. However, if many victims have been injured by the same product or entity, they may join together in a single class action lawsuit, giving more weight to the claim and forcing even the most powerful corporations to make amends. Attorneys who handle consumer class action cases also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only collect payment if they are able to secure compensation for their clients.
Should I Contact a Consumer Protection Lawyers If I Suspect My Consumer Rights Have Been Violated?
If you have been injured or suffered financial distress due to unfair business practices, it is vital that you seek an attorney’s advice as soon as possible. The time to file these claims is extremely limited, and evidence to support your case will disappear with each passing day.
The experienced Consumer Protection Lawyers at Foster Wallace, LLC can investigate the details of your claim and explain your next steps at no cost to you. Call our office today or fill out our online contact form to set up your free initial consultation with a Kansas City consumer protection attorney.