Nevada Consumer Lawyer

Each and every one of us is a consumer, meaning that we purchase or rent products and services for our own use.  During these consumer transactions, we are protected by consumer protection laws which were developed to encourage fair trade, competition, create warranties on the quality of products and services, and ensure the disclosure of truthful information for good business practices and safety.  Moreover, consumer protection laws seek to discourage fraud and unfair business practices, and create recourse for consumers in the event that they are treated in an unethical and/or fraudulent manner.

Consumer Law is Government Regulated Contract Law
Consumer protection laws are government regulations, which dictate the terms of contracts.  Most adults have been party to a contract at some point during their lives.  For example, you might sign a lease to rent an apartment, hire a roofer to put a new roof on your house, or you may buy magazines from a door to door salesman.

A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between adults.  To be enforceable, the contract must be entered into voluntarily, have clearly agreed upon terms and conditions and demonstrate the exchange of “consideration”.  Clearly agreed upon terms refers to the idea that everyone understands the nature of the deal being made.  This is referred to as a “meeting of the minds.” “Consideration” means that each party contributed something or gave up a right as part of the agreement.  An agreement can have clear agreed upon terms but still not be a contract, if consideration is not present.

Consumer Protection Laws Fight Common Abuses
Below, three specific areas of consumer law are listed.  These sales areas are highly regulated due to a long history of abuse.

Door to Door Sales
Likely, the most high pressure situation is door to door sales.  Examples would be the sale of old school encyclopedias, vacuums, magazine subscriptions, and cleaning products.   All door to door sales contracts must contain written notice of a three day cooling off period.  This means that the consumer has three days to change his or her mind about buying a product or service sold door to door, without penalty.

Mail
When you can’t walk into a brick and mortar store and speak to an individual, it can be difficult to address problems with service or obtain a product not yet received.  A mail order company must send the product you’ve ordered within 30 days, unless you were informed of a back order when you placed the order.

Telemarketing
Telemarketing often targets the elderly and is high pressure.  Fortunately, you can stop most telemarketing by registering on the National Do Not Call Registry; register at (www.donotcall.gov) or by a toll-free number (888-382-1222.)  Ask your elderly loved ones for permission to register their telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry as well.


Consumer FAQs

Are funeral homes regulated by consumer protection laws?
Yes, absolutely, because funeral homes deal with people in highly stressed situations and have had a history of abuse, consumer protection laws apply.  For example, funeral homes are required to disclose which services are required by law and which services are optional.  Few services are actually legally required.  In addition, funeral homes must disclose all information over the phone; they cannot make you go to the funeral home to receive the information.  Additionally, if you believe you’ve been treated unfairly by a funeral home, you can bring this to the attention of the State of Nevada Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers and they can evaluate the problem.

I’ve heard that a lot of people get ripped off by home repairmen.  How do I prevent being ripped off?
The best way to find an ethical home repairman is through referrals from family, friends, and neighbors.  In addition, check services such as Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau to review comments left by other homeowners.  Do not simply hire a repairman who shows up at your door, advertises in the yellow pages, or places a flyer on your car.  That is not the way legitimate business people operate.
In addition, all home repair contracts must include a three day cooling off period during which you can cancel the contract without penalty.

However, when it comes to contractors, the most important consideration is that they be licensed.  Having a contractors license means that the Nevada State Contractors Board has tested a contractor to make sure that they know how to perform the service you’re paying them to provide.

If you are considering hiring a contractor, make sure to visit the Nevada State Contractors Board website to determine whether they have a license and if it is the type of license for the work you need done.  For a searchable webpage, see www.nscb.state.nv.us.  Additionally, if you believe you’ve been treated unfairly by a contractor, you can bring this to the attention of the Nevada State Contractors Board who will evaluate the work performed to see if it meets professional standards.


Consumer Glossary

APR
The Federal Trade Commission defines “annual percentage rate” (APR) as the cost of credit expressed as a yearly rate. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees, and certain other credit charges that the borrower is required to pay.”
Credit card companies, mortgage companies and other lenders must disclose contract details, including the APR.

Lemon Laws
According to the Federal Reserve Board, “lemon laws” are state laws that provide remedies to consumers for vehicles that repeatedly fail to meet certain standards of quality and performance.  Lemon laws vary by state and may not cover leased vehicles.  Lemon laws may also cover “defective” pets; but if not, you can recover under a general warranty claim.

Total Monthly Payment
The “total monthly payment” is “the base monthly payment plus monthly sales or use taxes and any other monthly charges.”  Source: Federal Reserve Board