Consumer Law

consumer law

This segment describes a large body of law that applies to consumers in various transactions. Basically, most every written consumer contract is governed by a specific federal or state statute.

Commonly, consumers have problems with creditors or collection agencies. Federal [Fair Debt Collection Act (15 USC 1692)] and State [SC Consumer Protection Code (SC Code 37-5-108)] laws govern what collection agencies can and cannot do when attempting to collect their debt. For example, they cannot threaten to garnish your paycheck. If you are having trouble with harassment, document when phone calls are made(time and date), and obtain the full name and street mailing address of the person calling. Then, you may wish to consult with an attorney.

Beware: South Carolina law has a limitation period for when creditors may obtain a judgment against you for any debt, usually this is three (3) years. Be very careful if you are discussing any debt where the last payment was made more than three (3) years ago. If you pay any amount (even 1 cent), the entire debt may become valid against you. If a collection agency tells you, “how about just sending in a five dollar ($5.00) payment for good faith,” there are potentially significant legal consequences associated with that payment.

If in doubt, obtain good legal counsel first.

There are also other areas of Consumer law that applies to mortgages (RESPA, 12 CFR 2601) and other financial transactions (“Truth in Lending” – South Carolina Code of Laws §37-2-301, 37-3-301, and Federal law 15 USC 1601) which set out various disclosures required by a lender before loaning money.

Return to Practice Areas