Consumer protection is government regulation to protect the interests of consumers, for example by requiring businesses to disclose detailed information about products, particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food. Consumer protection is linked to the idea of consumer rights (that consumers have various rights as consumers), and to consumer organizations which help consumers make better choices in the marketplace.
Consumer protection law or consumer law is considered an area of public law that regulates private law relationships between individual consumers and the businesses that sell them goods and services. Consumer protection covers a wide range of topics including but not necessarily limited to product liability, privacy rights, unfair business practices, fraud, misrepresentation, and other consumer/business interactions.
Such laws deal with bankruptcy, credit repair, debt repair, product safety, service contracts, bill collector regulation, pricing, utility turnoffs, consolidation and much more.
In the United States there are a variety of laws on the federal or state levels that deal with consumer affairs including the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Truth in Lending Act, Fair Billing Act, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and much more. Federal consumer protection laws are usually enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. At the state level, many states have a Department of Consumer Affairs devoted to regulating certain industries and protecting consumers who regularly use goods and services from those industries.
In the UK, consumer laws are enforced by Trading Standards. In Australia it is the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or the individual State Consumer Affairs agencies.
Wikipedia article (the free online encyclopedia) reproduced under the terms of the GNU (General Public License) Free Documentation License.