Consumer law involves all of the regulations and statutes that seek to create a more equitable balance for buyers in the marketplace and prevent sellers from using dishonest tactics. A consumer is any individual who purchases goods or services, which may be sold by manufacturers, wholesalers, or retailers.
Consumer laws also state that the underlying good must fit a particular purpose, including any particular service that is mentioned to the consumer by the seller. These laws cover the good’s appearance, safety, and durability. The good purchased, according to consumer laws, must meet the advertised description in which the good is marketed or packaged.
The goal of consumer protection laws is to place consumers, who are average citizens engaging in business deals such as buying goods or borrowing money, on an even par with companies or citizens who regularly engage in business. Historically, consumer transactions—purchases of goods or services for personal, family, or household use—were presumed fair because it was assumed that buyers and sellers bargained from equal positions.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main federal agency enforcing consumer protection laws. The FTC uses what it calls “industry guides” and trade regulations to define what “unfair or deceptive” trade practices are.
Other organizations that promote consumer protection include government organizations and self-regulating business organizations such as consumer protection agencies and organizations, the Federal Trade Commission, ombudsmen, Better Business Bureaus, etc.