-Consumer protection covers a wide range of businesses and services and touches on just about every aspect of daily life. “Along with government agencies that oversee various businesses and professional services, there are state and federal laws that protect consumer rights and provide recourse when those rights are violated,” says Atascadero attorney Mary Ann Tardiff.
Consumer protection laws are designed to protect consumers from fraudulent business practices, faulty products and other actions on the part of businesses that bring harm of any kind. From the neighborhood convenience store to banks, professional services and even how the power company treats its customers are all covered by laws to protect the consumer. There are government agencies that oversee businesses and filing a report with the appropriate agency is often the first step to getting some satisfaction when someone feels their rights as a consumer have been violated.
Finding the appropriate agency can be confusing and it’s important to have all kinds of information ready before filing the complaint. A summary of the situation is necessary, along with copies of receipts, letters, email and text messages, the name and address of the business, the names and titles of people you spoke with and records of the dates, times and details about the discussions.
It’s no wonder so many people don’t follow through and get the justice they deserve. The Atascadero attorney believes that every consumer who is standing up for their rights is entitled to the best assistance possible. Tardiff’s goal is to streamline the process so that offended consumers receive the justice they are due.
Consumer protections fall into many categories including:
- Banks and financial institutions.
- Credit card companies.
- Environmental issues.
- Product quality and safety, including food, medications, vehicles, sporting equipment and toys and more.
- Credit accounts, credit reporting and debt collection.
- Predatory business practices.
- Deceptive business practices.
From trying to return a faulty television to the local department store, trying to return the lemon to the auto dealership, losing thousands of dollars to a predatory business, or being injured, there comes a point when the offended consumer needs the assistance of an experienced attorney.
“When you feel your rights as a consumer have been violated,” says the Atascadero attorney, “sometimes a phone call to the right person is all it takes to make things right.” When a sales clerk refuses to exchange the faulty television, just talking to the manager may be all that needs to happen. “Reaching out to the right person is often all it takes,” says Tardiff, “and sometimes a phone call from an attorney is all it takes to solve the problem.”
Tardiff has the following tips for those who feel they have been defrauded or harmed:
- Take photographs of the products.
- Download and keep any advertising regarding the product or service.
- Keep records of whom you contact, the date and time and the conversation.
- Keep all receipts.
- Make a chronological list of everything you have done regarding the matter.
- Keep all medical records if applicable.
- Get copies of any police reports.
- Be as clear as possible about how you want the matter resolved.
For some consumer rights matters, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable attorney. Wading through the myriad regulatory agencies that oversee various industries to find the right set of laws and the right agency can be discouraging. As an example, when a bank causes a depositor to lose money, it’s not as simple as picking up the phone and filing a complaint. Banks in the United States are regulated at both the federal and state levels and depending on the bank and how it is organized and structured, it may be subject to more than one regulatory agency.
Mary Ann Tardiff has been an attorney for over 30 years. Her vast experience as an attorney, Commissioner, and Judge Pro Tem, as well as her dedication to providing affordable and timely legal services, make her an ideal choice when seeking legal services.
Law Office of Mary Ann Tardiff
3540 El Camino Real
Atascadero, CA 93422