Consumer Law

Consumer Law General FAQ

Q: A contractor provides less than what was promised and paid for. Is there any recourse?

  • A:Most, but not all, states license contractors, so check to see if this is the case in your area. If so, contact the licensing bureau to find out how to complete your complaint against his license and bonding. Follow up with the Better Business Bureau and a local lawyer to see exactly what your rights and remedies are.

Q: Are dry cleaners responsible for lost or damaged items?

  • A:The dry cleaner should work with you on a fair value for a lost item, although that may not mean you'll receive the full replacement cost. If you can't come to an agreement, mediation or small claims court may be an option.

    Determining responsibility for a damaged item may be a bit more difficult. Wearing apparel is covered by the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Care Label Rule. Manufacturers of textile garments sold in the United States must determine the care required for a garment, which all parts can withstand, and attach a permanent, legible care label in a conspicuous place.

    If the cause of the problem is a manufacturing defect, talk with the retailer about the item and any possible refund. If the problem lies with the dry cleaner, speak with them about compensation. Dry cleaners who belong to the International Fabricare Institute or other similar trade organization can request an independent review concerning responsibility for the damage.

Q: Don't I have a "cooling off period" on all credit transactions?

  • A:No. Truth in Lending gives you a chance to change your mind on one important kind of transaction - when you use your home as security for a credit transaction. For example, when you are financing a major repair or remodeling and use your home as security, you have three business days, usually after you sign a contract, to think about the transaction and to cancel it if you wish. The creditor must give you written notice of your right to cancel, and if you decide to cancel, you must notify the creditor in writing within the three-day period. The creditor must then return all fees paid and cancel the security interest in your home. Until the three days are up, a contractor may not start work on your home, and a lender may not pay you or the contractor. If you must have the credit immediately to meet a financial emergency, you may give up your right to cancel by providing a written explanation of the circumstances.

Q: If I just made a purchase and the item goes on sale, does the retailer have to refund the difference?

  • A:No. While it may be good business to do so, they aren't required to offer a refund.

Q: I've purchased an item, but have decided I no longer want it. Doesn't the retailer have to take it back and refund my money?

  • A:Generally, no. Most stores have an established policy regarding whether and under what conditions they will accept the return of merchandise, but merchants aren't required by law to accept returns.

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