What is a Consumer Lawyer?

Last Updated:
April 7, 2023

As an American consumer, you are protected by a wide range of rights and laws that prevent credit bureaus, creditors, and credit furnishers from taking advantage of you. But while these laws exist, they aren’t always obeyed, and many consumers don’t actually know what consumer rights they can use or rely on for protection.

In many cases, it’s wise to contact consumer lawyers for in-depth explanations and for further legal counsel. But what exactly is a consumer lawyer, and how can they help? Read on for the answers to these questions and more.

Consumer Laws Explained

Over the years, Congress has passed various laws and acts to protect American consumers against credit abuse, debt collection abuse, and other rights violations. Many of the most important consumer laws enshrine certain rights and protections to ensure that consumers always have means of legal recourse if needed.

Some of the most important consumer laws include:

  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This federal Act prevents debt collectors from engaging in immoral or inappropriate practices, like calling consumers before 8 AM or after 9 PM or threatening consumers for not paying their bills
  • The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This 1991 Act protects consumers from unsolicited telemarketing phone calls, but now also applies to debt collectors who use prerecorded messages for auto-dialers to harass customers about unpaid debts
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This Act gives consumers the right to dispute credit information with both the credit bureaus and any credit furnishers, as well as requires credit bureaus and furnishers to investigate disputes and respond promptly when they receive dispute information. It also requires credit furnishers and bureaus to correct inaccurate information if they are made aware of it
  • The Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA). This federal law prevents unfair practices whenever consumers use electronic funds transfers or EFTs, including ATM transfers, debit card transfers, and so on. It further limits the financial responsibilities of consumers for unauthorized EFTs if they report strange transactions to their banks promptly

All in all, these consumer laws and more are highly important to ensure that consumers are never taken advantage of and to give consumers a way to fight back against credit or debt collection abuse. They are key tools for consumer lawyers, as well, who can leverage them to prove that companies or agencies are breaking the law.

Consumer Lawyers – What Do They Do?

Consumer lawyers, also sometimes called consumer protection lawyers, are knowledgeable legal professionals who specialize in the areas of consumer law and consumer rights. Put another way, they know all about the consumer laws above and can offer sound legal counsel to individuals who need assistance in the areas of credit repair, creditor harassment, and much more.

Like many legal professionals, consumer lawyers can offer many benefits and services to their clients. Let’s take a look at some of the most important things that consumer lawyers do.

Explain Consumer Rights

Lots of American consumers don’t fully understand their rights under laws like the FCRA and FDCPA. Therefore, when they are taken advantage of or when their rights are violated, they don’t necessarily know about it until it’s too late.

For instance, a consumer may be continually harassed by a creditor demanding that they pay down a debt that they never took out. The consumer knows that it’s a case of mistaken identity, but they don’t know what to do, nor are they aware that creditors cannot legally harass them in this way.

By contacting consumer lawyers, consumers can gain more knowledge about their rights and privileges and can protect their families from credit abuse or misinformation. Should consumers need to file lawsuits or credit dispute letters, consumer lawyers can also provide them with important information to ensure they do so properly.

Negotiate on Behalf of Clients

Sometimes, credit bureaus, credit furnishers, and other organizations will not speak to American consumers. For instance, a consumer might notice that their credit report has one or more erroneous line items. But when they contact the credit furnisher responsible for the issue, the furnisher refuses to speak to them.

Educated, experienced attorneys know what to say in order to get the attention of organizations like this. They can negotiate on behalf of their clients so that their clients don’t have to deal with the frustration and anxiety of this process any longer.

This is a particularly invaluable benefit for consumers who are experiencing creditor harassment. Many creditors or debt collectors can be abusive or aggressive in their attempts to collect money, causing stress for consumers. Consumers who contact consumer lawyers can get the social protection they need to resume their lives.

Assist Clients with Filing Dispute Letters/Lawsuits

Erroneous or false information on one’s credit report can only be dealt with via a credit dispute letter. Credit dispute letters should be sent to credit bureaus or to individual credit furnishers, like utility companies or businesses.

While every American has the right to file a dispute letter if needed, many don’t know how to do so properly, nor do they know what information they should include. Experienced consumer lawyers can break down:

  • Where dispute letters should be sent
  • What should be included in a dispute letter, like credit report numbers, identifying information, etc.
  • What to expect once the letter is sent. For instance, once a company or credit bureau receives a dispute letter, they are legally required to investigate within 30 days

Consumer lawyers can also provide this same assistance when a consumer needs to file a dispute letter with a debt collector or credit company. This is the best way to get debt collection efforts to cease when the debt in question is inaccurate or no longer active.

Represent Clients in Court

If push comes to shove, consumer lawyers can represent their clients in court during a lawsuit.

For instance, if a creditor does not stop its attempts to collect a debt that a consumer does not owe, that consumer could file a lawsuit against the credit company or debt collector. Their lawyer can represent them effectively and help them build a strong case to maximize their chances of recovering damages.

When Do You Need a Consumer Lawyer?

It’s a good idea to contact a consumer lawyer in the below situations:

  • When you are being harassed by a creditor or debt collection agency
  • When your attempts to repair your credit or get debt collection to cease have not been successful
  • When you believe your consumer rights under the laws above are being violated in any way
  • When you want to file a lawsuit against a credit bureau, credit furnisher, debt collection agency, or any other organization as part of a credit or debt dispute

Most consumer lawyers will offer a free consultation or case evaluation when you contact them. Therefore, you can determine whether you should partner with a lawyer before spending any money. That can be an invaluable step if you aren’t sure what your situation really entails or whether legal action is necessary.

Contact Fair Credit Today

Consumer lawyers like Fair Credit are the go-to experts you should contact whenever you have a credit report legal problem. For example, if a credit bureau doesn’t respond to a dispute letter, or if you are continually being harassed by creditors, consumer lawyers can back you up when needed and provide you with important advice so you can make the best choice for you and your family. Contact Fair Credit today to learn more.

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