Humans are born consumers. We live by that fact every single day of our lives, whether we like it or not. We consume oxygen, consume food, consume water, and consume almost practically anything that it often just goes unnoticed most of the time. Well, that’s just how this world works from the moment we were born up to the present that we’re just so used to it. However, things can go wrong sometimes, that’s inevitable. And entrepreneurs will do almost anything to convince us that what they have is what we need—but that’s not always the case.
Has there been a time when you thought that the sweater you just bought from a local department store sale labeled as “100% cotton” caused you skin irritations? Or, has it ever happened that a pair of sneakers advertised to you as “original” wore-off after only a couple of days? We’ve all been there one way or another. Fortunately, the government has created some laws to help us with this problem. As they say, knowledge is power, so knowing about these might help you save a dollar or two shortly.
Let’s talk about “consumer protection law” or more commonly known as “consumer law”. What is it and how does it help us? The consumer law is a general term for a group of laws or anything that it encompasses, and its purpose is to prevent frauds and scams between consumers and businesses. It includes, but is not limited to, unfair practices on service contracts, pricing, personal loans, etc. Take for example the consumer warranties.
As a general rule, buying merchandise carries along with it a warranty. It means that the product you bought will serve the purpose for which it was bought. Now, there are two commonly known types: implied and express. The express warranty is understood as a guarantee from the vendor, written or not, that the product will work for a specific amount of time, and it doesn’t matter if the product is new or used.
Along with it comes the implied warranty which is automatically provided by the law. It also includes both used and unused products. This warranty means that the product will function as it is expected to, provided that it is used properly. Like a fridge is expected to cool stuff, but it was not designed to cool the whole room. A blender is going to work on ice, but not if you put rocks in it. Furthermore, misleading advertisements are also prohibited by this law. It also gives consumers the right to sue any business proved to be deceptive or unfair.
On the other hand, it should not be mistaken that such laws were solely created to bully entrepreneurs and businesses. These laws also stabilize relationships and create a balance between consumers and those in the marketplace. It promotes fair trade and a competitive market towards the end of businessmen while ensuring product safety for the consumers. Now, then, say for example that a violation has been done by the selling party, how can the law protect the consumer and restore order? In the case where a contractor provides a consumer with his license number and other legalities, only to be discovered as false later on, the consumer may sue him for compensatory damages and attorney fees.
What’s the takeaway lesson here? As mentioned in the beginning, since all humans are born consumers, we all should understand how consumer law works for us—not just to be used as a basis for complaint later on, but wise buying and planning every time we spend a single penny, and how to get the most out of it.