A consumer law attorney specializes in protecting the interests of consumers of goods and services against abusive business practices, fraud, and deception. The practice of consumer law is wide-ranging and may address issues that arise in the execution of contracts, product liability, and issues surrounding credit reporting. In addition to these areas, a consumer law attorney may also defend consumers against aggressive debt collection techniques or businesses that advertise in fraudulent or deceptive ways.
While laws in many countries assume that consumers are responsible for making good decisions about their purchases and entering contracts, it is also recognized that some businesses may ask consumers to agree to terms that the consumer cannot reasonably be expected to understand. In situations where a consumer is bound by an agreement with convoluted or deliberately deceptive terms, a consumer law attorney may be able to assist the consumer in obtaining release from the contract. When a consumer is about to make a major purchase or plans to sign onto a service agreement, it may be in his best interest to speak to a consumer law attorney and ask him to review the contract to ensure that its terms are favorable to the consumer.
In many countries, laws exist that protect the rights of consumers when they have been sold shoddy goods or services. In situations where a business refuses to compensate a consumer who has suffered damages as a result of a defective product or poor service, a consumer law attorney may instigate litigation against that business in hopes of receiving compensation for her client. In some cases, when there has been a clear-cut pattern of negligence on the part of the business, consumer law attorneys might bring a class action suit against the business not only to secure compensation for their clients, but to also draw attention to a potential threat to public safety.
Some consumer law attorneys specialize in the areas of consumer debt collection and credit reporting rights enforcement. These attorneys protect their clients against aggressive, and in some cases, abusive debt collection tactics by both original creditors as well as collection agencies. In situations where the law provides remedies to victims of such practices, a consumer law attorney might file a lawsuit on behalf of his client. Similarly, a consumer law attorney may assist a client whose credit has been unfairly tarnished either through identity theft or mistakes made by a creditor. In such cases, the attorney may contact creditors and credit bureaus to request removal of negative credit information or may initiate litigation against creditors and credit bureaus that refuse to remove inaccuracies.