consumer protection laws
n. almost all states and the federal government have enacted laws and set up agencies to protect the consumer (the retail purchasers of goods and services) from inferior, adulterated, hazardous or deceptively advertised products, and deceptive or fraudulent sales practices. Federal statutes and regulations govern mail fraud, wholesome poultry and meat, misbranding and adulteration of food and cosmetics, truth in lending, false advertising, the soundness of banks, securities sales, standards of housing materials, flammable fabrics, and various business practices. The Magnuson-Moss Act (1973) sets minimum standards for product warranties, makes a company that financed the sale responsible for product defects, and creates liability (financial responsibility) for "implied" warranties (when the circumstances show that a warranty of lack of defects was intended) as well as express (specific) warranties. Mail fraud may include fake contests, "low-ball" price traps (bait and switch), supposed credit for referrals of your friends, phoney home improvement loans with huge final payments, and swamp land sales. Some states' laws regulate and give some protection against high-pressure door-to-door sales, false labeling, unsolicited merchandise, abusive collection practices, misleading advertising and referral and promotional sales. Almost all states have agencies set up to actively protect the consumer.