What are Consumer Protection Acts in Georgia?
Consumer protection statutes are federal and state laws that are designed to safeguard consumers from unfair business and deceptive business practices.
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 which 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 contract.
If you are a victim of 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.