Crabbing over government never goes out of style, but sometimes government is the only thing standing between consumers and the forces that would put their health at risk, mislead them into bad purchases, and gouge them out of every dollar they have. , if they had the chance.
Consumer protection laws and agencies can save you time, aggravation and money, but only if you know what they are, how they are designed to help you, and what to do if you have been victimized or abused.
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Here’s an overview of the consumer protections you need to know to stay safe, avoid dishonest dealers, and seek help if you need it.
In February, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced so-called “right to repair” legislation, which they said would boost competition and give consumers more choice and lower prices. Similar campaigns are taking place in New York and elsewhere in the country.
Currently, companies can have a monopoly on repairing their vehicles, agricultural equipment, and electronics by keeping control of the critical components, tools, or software needed to repair them in the event of a breakdown.
The legislation would require automakers, farm equipment dealers and electronics manufacturers to give independent repair shops and even individuals access to these components so they can carry out repairs themselves or choose their own. service providers.
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Currently, according to Reuters, consumers generally have no choice in how or where things like their tractors or smartphones are repaired; therefore, they cannot shop around for a better price or service.
Legislation on the “right to repair” would put an end to all this.
On January 1, the law without surprises came into force. Federal law protects people from surprise medical bills, even after receiving out-of-network emergency care without prior authorization.
Due to the nature of medical care, particularly following an emergency, patients are generally not provided with itemized costs of services prior to being treated. By capping what the hospital is allowed to charge without notice, the unsurprising law could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars if you receive unplanned medical care.
The law also prohibits debt collectors from pursuing debts that violate the law and provides protection against credit bureaus reporting debts that violate the law.
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When the excesses of a grossly underregulated financial sector led to the Great Recession in 2008, the government responded with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, named after lawmakers at the origin of the bill. The legislation introduced safeguards to protect consumers against reckless or predatory behavior by banks, rating agencies and mortgage lenders.
More importantly, the law created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which protects consumers from predatory lending and requires lenders to make it easier for borrowers to understand the terms of their mortgages.
Few things impact your personal finances more than your credit report, which can determine whether you get a loan, an insurance policy, or a job. The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects information collected by reporting agencies such as credit bureaus.
The law – which is designed to ensure confidentiality, accuracy and fairness – regulates how credit bureaus, tenant screening agencies, medical information services and other organizations report data on consumers access, collect, store and share personal data.
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The FCRA helps you with your finances by guaranteeing you access to your credit report but requiring your permission for others to access it. It also gives you the right to know if your information was used in a loan, credit, insurance policy, or employment decision, as well as to challenge any errors you find on your report.
This consumer protection legislation can save you money by keeping you out of the crosshairs of unscrupulous and abusive debt collectors. It prevents debt collectors from harassing people with excessive phone calls or other communications, especially at unreasonable hours or in their place of work.
It also prevents debt collectors from bullying or intimidating people into paying, threatening them with legal action or arrest, or pretending to be working with law enforcement. It also prohibits them from claiming wrongful sums of money or misrepresenting the amount owed.
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