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How to Find an Experienced California Consumer Attorney
Have you ever been in a situation of “what I ordered vs. what I got?” While there are genuine businesses out there, fake ones exist too. They mislead unsuspecting customers with fake advertising or packaging. Sometimes, there are hidden fees in services, so you spend more money without knowing it. If you’ve found yourself in such sticky situations, you need a consumer attorney.
Who is a Consumer Attorney?
If you are based in California, a consumer attorney is also referred to as a consumer protection attorney. They use their knowledge of Consumer Law to protect consumers from deceptive practices of businesses. The cases they cover include:
- Harassment from debt collectors;
- Fraudulent advertising;
- Breach of contract;
- Personal injury from using a product or service.
What is Consumer Protection?
Consumer protection is a federal or state law that covers several transactions between consumers and businesses. It regulates the activities of manufacturers, ensuring that they produce high-quality goods. It also provides measures to protect the personal information of consumers.
Examples of consumers’ laws are:
- Lemon law;
- Telephone consumer protection act;
- Electronic fund transfer act.
This is a law that governs selling vehicles that a warranty still covers. Generally, it falls under the state warranty law and varies from state to state. It covers faults from manufacturers that consumers are unable to repair after making several efforts that eventually reduced the value of the vehicle. The manufacturer is expected to replace or buy back the vehicle.
The impaired vehicle is referred to as a lemon. So, if you believe they sold you a lemon, reach out to an experienced lemon law attorney. Note that many second-hand cars do not have a warranty. Therefore, the lemon law does not cover it.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
TCPA is a federal law that was established in 1991. It ensures that companies do not make pre-recorded and auto-dialed calls to consumers without their written consent. Originally, it was made to prevent random telemarketing calls but now includes debt collectors who harass customers with messages.
The telephone consumer protection act prevents telemarketers from contacting residential lines unless they’ve had business dealings with the customer in the past 18 months. This also applies to any number that is registered in the Do Not Call (DNC) registry. Any company that violates the TCPA will pay a fine.
An attorney can help you to claim between 500 USD to 1500 USD from violators. You can read this article to know more about TCPA.
Warranties are supported under state and federal laws. A warranty is a manufacturer’s promise that their products are of high quality. It can either be implied or stated expressly.
All products must have an implied warranty, but this still depends on the state where the manufacturer’s company is domiciled. The warranty should state:
- Whether the product can be used in the same way as similar products;
- The function of the product;
- Whether there are trade objections;
- The authenticity of the label and packaging;
- Whether the product fulfills the promise on its label.
Express warranties, on the other hand, are promises that the manufacturer makes voluntarily about their commitment to producing only the best. It also applies to services where a contractor takes responsibility for any fault that may arise later. The express warranty covers more things than the implied one. Under federal law, it must be written, while state law accepts the oral version.
Electronic Fund Transfer Act
This is a federal consumer protection law that guards against unfair practices via electronic fund transfer. It includes transfers done via phones, POS, ATM, direct deposit, standing orders on savings or checking accounts, and debit cards. Consumers can limit their risks by reporting fraudulent transactions on their accounts 60 days after receiving their bank statements.
After notifying your bank, it would take 10 days to carry out an investigation and 3 more days to compile a report of the investigation. Some banks will make provisions for you to access funds temporarily during the period of investigation. They do so because you may need the money before the end of the investigation.
Additionally, in cases of stolen or lost cards, the electronic fund transfer act ensures your bank limits the amount anyone can withdraw from the account per day. You can also stop all automatic bill payments provided you report the issue in good time. An attorney can help you get good compensation if your account was affected.
Where to Find a Consumer Attorney in California
The internet has made things a lot easier for many of us. If you want a particular type of service, you can conveniently search for providers near you. Therefore, if you want an attorney in California, you can search online.
There are specific directories that you can use. They include NOLO, Find Law, Legal Match, and Avvo. These sites allow you to filter your search to practice areas and locations. The upside is that you can see the profile of the attorney or a law firm and read reviews from previous clients.
Additionally, consumer protection attorneys are members of the NACBA (National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys) or NACA (National Association of Consumer Advocates). Each of them has online directories that you can use to search for attorneys in your area.
The website of the National Consumer Law Center (https://www.nclc.org/) also contains a list of organizations that offer free or affordable legal services to consumers. And if you truly can’t afford the cost of hiring an attorney in California, you can check law schools. Most of them willingly offer free assistance.
Several laws protect consumers, and we shared just a few in this article. They include the lemon law, warranty, telephone consumer protection act, and electronic fund transfer act. If you have been harmed by the fraudulent acts of a company, quickly contact a consumer protection attorney.
Delaying a report may make you lose your claim. Therefore, it is important to find an attorney before a case arises. We also shared useful information for finding experienced consumer protection attorneys in California.