Consumer protection laws were devised to protect consumers that were taken advantage of by businesses. The consumer protection laws consist of common law and then state and federal statutes as well. The Federal Trade Commission is the entity that is tasked with enforcing these statutes and protecting consumers’ rights. Within the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Protection Bureau is the entity that addresses consumer complaints and actually enforces these statutes. Consumer protection law covers several areas, such as debt collection statutes, deceptive trade practices statutes, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, auto fraud, and then banking and credit statutes as well. The type of cases that I see the most are typically cases under like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which deals with third-party debt collectors or collection agencies, and that law deals with how they operate when they try to collect debt from consumers. It’s under that law, it’s important to note, that only consumer debts are covered under the statute. So that’s defined as debts that were incurred primarily for personal, family or household purposes. And so business debts are not going to be covered under that. Some of the things that debt collectors are not allowed to do under that act are: calling you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., they have to stop communicating with you once you’ve sent them written notice to cease communications, or once you’ve advised them that you are represented by an attorney. Additionally, they can’t threaten you in any way. So they can’t threaten any physical harm. They can’t threaten to take any action they’re not legally entitled to take. For example in Texas, where I’m from, there is no wage garnishment. And so they can’t threaten to garnish your wages because that’s not an action that they’re legally entitled to take. Okay. Some of the other things like threatening lawsuits, threatening to sue you for a debt – they can’t threaten to do that unless they actually intend on following through with that threat when when they make it. Some of the other areas that I see a lot of cases in would be the TCPA, which is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and that deals with mainly robocalling people’s cell phones. Okay, and it’s probably the number one complaint that I get now. I get a lot of those calls myself it’s truly annoying. What you have to keep in mind though is that it’s under that law that businesses are allowed to robocall your cell phone as long as they have your expressed consent to do so. And what most people don’t know is that they’ve unwittingly given that consent when they’ve filled out a credit application and they provided their cell phone number. Although under the law, you’re entitled to revoke that consent at any time, and typically what they do is say, “quit calling me.” I’m dealing with a case right now in Texas were my client purchased some some appliances and other stuff from a Texas-based retailer, provided her cell phone number when she bought the stuff, and they robocalled her over 1800 times in a 13-month period. And she repeatedly begged them and demanded that they stop calling her because she was sitting vigil with her dying grandmother. And so that case, it’s in arbitration and we’re waiting on the arbitrator to make a ruling now. So, we have a good case there I think. Another type of, another area that I see a lot of cases in is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which obviously deals with your credit reports. Okay. Under that law, some of the cases that I see are failing to correct errors in people’s credit reports, and then also failing to properly investigate people’s disputes. In fact, just today there was a three million, over three million dollar verdict, awarded against Experian for just that. Failing to properly investigate a consumer’s dispute. Another area that I see a lot of cases in is in auto fraud. Okay. I deal with like lemon law issues, and then also failing to disclose defects like prior accidents or flood damage or issues with the title, the title, and then odometer rollback cases. So at some point in time, the odometer was rolled back or the miles aren’t listed correctly, and that stuff wasn’t properly disclosed to the buyer when they purchased that vehicle. Many states also have their own versions of these laws. Like Texas – where I’m from – has the Texas Debt Collection Act. Probably the most robust of the state statutes is in California under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.