What are consumer protection statutes?
Consumer protection statutes are federal and state laws that are designed to safeguard consumers from
unfair business and deceptive business practices.
Georgia’s consumer protection statutes.
Georgia law includes a number of consumer protection statutes. These statutes provide
a way for consumers that have been subjected to unfair or deceptive business
practices to seek recourse from the responsible businesses.
Overarching prohibition of unfair and deceptive business practices.
Georgia’s overarching consumer protection law is the Fair Business
Practices Act. This law prohibits unfair and deceptive practices in the
sale, lease, or rental of goods, property, and services. In addition,
there are provisions which specifically regulate certain types of businesses
such as, health clubs, telemarketers, and internet based businesses.
The Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection provides examples of
business conduct that violate the Fair Business Practices Act. These actions include:
· Representing used goods as being new;
· Misrepresenting the origin of a product;
· Providing false information regarding the quality or grade of
a product; and
· Making misleading statements about the price of goods or services.
Georgia’s lemon law.
In addition, Georgia has a number of consumer protection laws that are
specific to particular industries and business practices. The most well
known of these is the Georgia Lemon Law Act. Under this law, a consumer
who faces a recurring problem with a car they purchased, leased, or registered
in the State may be able to seek recourse. Consumers present their case
before an arbitration panel that who determines whether they are entitled
to a replacement or refund.
Penalties for telemarketers who do not obey Do Not Call Lists.
Another consumer protection law that many are familiar with is the State’s
Do Not Call Law. This law bans telemarketers from contacting telephone
numbers which have been placed on the Do Not Call List.
Regulation of business transactions.
In addition, Georgia law regulates certain types of business transactions.
For example, the State has statutes governing buying clubs. These are
businesses that offer membership for a fee and then offer members products
at a discount. In order to operate this type of business, Georgia law
requires buying clubs to purchase a license, to maintain a $25,000 bond,
and to offer consumers a window of opportunity to cancel their membership.
Another type of business transaction that is regulated under Georgia law
is business opportunities and multilevel distribution companies. An example
of a business opportunity company is Mary Kay, the company charges individuals
a fee to start a business identical to theirs and sells consumers the
products and equipment necessary to run their business. Multilevel distribution
companies are businesses that provide individuals commission for the products
and services they sell as well as, those sold by individuals they recruit.
Georgia law requires some businesses of this type to provide consumers
with specific information regarding how and when goods and equipment will
be delivered and how they will be paid, before signing a contact.
If you are a victim of a deceptive or unfair business practices, you should
contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can review the circumstances
of your case and provide you with advice and guidance regarding your options
for seeking recourse.