What are your rights as a consumer?

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You’re protected under the law as a consumer

March 3-9 is National Consumer Protection Week, a time for you as a consumer to learn your rights so you can make well-informed decisions about protecting your money. There are certain consumer protection laws that have been put in place as a way to protect individuals. Learn more below.

There are agencies put in place to protect YOU

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was established in 1914 by the US Congress to protect consumers in a variety of ways. Shortly after, the FTC established the Bureau of Consumer Protection to specialize in preventing and punishing unfair or deceptive business practices.

In 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created in response to the financial crisis of 2008. The CFPB is another government agency responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector. The CFPB’s jurisdiction includes banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, and other financial companies operating in the United States.

Below are the top consumer protection laws that you should know regarding warranties, credit reporting, and loss or theft.

Anything you purchase has a warranty

Whenever you purchase something, it comes with a warranty. This is a guarantee that the product will serve the purpose for which it was intended. There are two basic types of warranties:

  • Express warranty: This type of warranty is an explicit promise from the seller, whether written, oral, or expressed in an ad, promising that the item will perform its function for a specified period of time.
  • Implied warranty: Unlike an express warranty, this type of warranty is not specifically disclosed but is deemed to be an inherent component of all retail sales of new and used consumer goods. A retailer implies that an item will work properly and be of average grade and quality, for as long as it is used for its intended purpose.

If a warranty is breached, you as a consumer have the right to get the item replaced or repaired by the seller. If that doesn’t work, you also have the right to resolve a dispute through mediation, which is when a third party assists in resolving a conflict by means of a nonbinding negotiation. If that fails, you have the right to sue the manufacturer or seller in a court of law. Frequently, companies (in the small print) require consumers to engage in arbitration instead of litigation in a court of law, meaning that a neutral third party will hear the case and issue a binding decision.

You have the right to view your credit score

Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report upon request once every 12 months. This report can be obtained from the credit reporting agencies.

With MoneyLion, you have access to your credit score daily using our free credit monitoring services. Enroll in Free Credit Monitoring to view your credit score, get credit-building tips, and avoid credit surprises. You also have access to our Credit Score Simulator, which allows you to see how your credit score would change if you were to take different financial actions.

The law protects you from loss or theft

The federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges if your credit card, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen. You must report the loss or theft of your card to the card issuer as quickly as possible. Once you report the loss of your bank card, federal law says you cannot be held liable for subsequent unauthorized transfers that occur.

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