Consumer law covers a range of issues such as unfair and deceptive trade practices, product liability, breach of warranty, harassment from debt collectors, and new car lemons. These are just a few areas we represent consumers and resolve in our consumer law practice.
Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices
Unfair and deceptive trade practices is a broad category that pertains to any consumer good or service. For example, we are representing Lumber Liquidators customers who bought certain flooring manufactured in China that doesn’t meet California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission standards for formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, despite being advertised as CARB- Phase 2 compliant.
The Florida Consumer Protection Practices Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibit debt collectors from harassing or engaging in abusive behavior when attempting to collect a debt.
Some new trends in violations of these consumer protection laws include 1) owners of a cell phone number previously owned by another who incurred debt being harassed for debts incurred by the cell phone number’s previous owner and 2) victims of identity theft whose phone number was used in connection with fraudulent purchases. In both instances, debt collectors can be held responsible for $1,000 statutory damages under the Florida Consumer Protection Practices Act and $1,000 statutory damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, attorneys’ fees, and costs. If the illegal calls were made to a cell phone without your express consent and an autodialer is used, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the penalty can be $500 to $1,500 for each call.
We also handle Florida Lemon Law cases. It applies to new vehicles bought in Florida and requires the manufacturer to repurchase or replace a vehicle after three attempts have been made to fix the defect or problem and a final attempt to cure fails.
Another consumer concern is identity theft. Identity theft ranks #2 in the Federal Trade Commission’s list of consumer complaints, according to the FTC’s 2015 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.
Someone using your personal information – your name, address, date of birth and social security number – to opens new accounts, obtains new credit cards, or file your tax refund is huge problem. Recovering from identity theft is a time consuming process. Click here for the FTC’s step-by-step guide on repairing the damage and learn about prevention. If you receive debt collection calls for debts that you did not incur but resulted from identity theft, we can help.
Leslie A. Goller is a consumer law attorney at Terrell • Hogan. Her practice focuses on representing people with consumer law disputes including claims involving unsafe products, unfair and deceptive trade practice, product liability, breach of warranty, debt collection abuse and accident injuries. She can be reached at (904) 722-2228.