We Need These original Consumer Laws Now



whether you’ve ever said, “There ought to be a law,” then you’re one of a million frustrated consumers. And you are not alone.

huge tracts of the commercial landscape are poorly regulated — or totally unregulated. Sometimes, it’s because technology develops so quickly that the rules can’t preserve up with it. American privacy regulations are a superb example of that. Other times, consumer protection laws beget been weakened or eliminated by influential lobbyists or campaign contributions. That’s what has happened with airlines.

Question is, which rules are needed now?

invent airline fees objective again.
The Forbid Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (objective) Fees Act, introduced final year by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is still alive and kicking around Congress. It would prohibit airlines from imposing fees that are unreasonable or disproportionate to the costs incurred by the air carrier.

Why it’s needed: Airline fees are out of control. Some ticket change fees are over $700, which can easily eat up the entire cost of your fare

Who’s against it: Airlines and their surrogates say the law would effectively “re-regulate” the airline industry.

Stop frivolous lawsuits against consumers.The Speak Free Act, which is expected to be considered by Congress soon, allows any person to invent a special motion to dismiss a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suit that has been frivolously filed against them. The Speak Free Act would allow consumers to quickly finish these suits before they accelerate up legal bills. Supporters say the law also would encourage consumers to offer honest feedback in online forums and social media without horror of retribution.

Why it’s needed: Businesses with access to broad law firms can suppress free speech without this law. (It’s happened to me.)

Who’s against it: Trial lawyers.

Don’t let your boss occupy your Facebook password.
“It’s not against the law for a possible employer to query you to ogle through your social media accounts during a job interview,” says Andrew Selepak, a professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, and director of the graduate program in social media. The proposed federal Password Protection Act would forbit employers from requiring or requesting employees or job applicants to supply password information for their social media and email accounts as a condition of employment.

Why it’s needed: More employers are asking for passwords.

Who’s against it: Employers who query for passwords.

Stop wicked presettlement loans
Accident victims find themselves in dire financial situations after an accident and injury. As a result, a cottage industry has developed that lends presettlement money to these consumers. “The rates and fees are astronomical,” says Michael Manoussos, a civil lawyer from Kew Gardens, N.Y. “Hedge funds are envious of the returns.” Both Vermont and Indiana recently passed legislation to regulate these legal funding mechanisms. But a federal law is needed.

Why it’s needed: Presettlement loans are exempt from usury laws and lending regulation.

Who’s against it: Lenders.

Better overdraft and lending rules
“Lenders should beget to assess the borrower’s ability to repay — without any exceptions,” says Liana Molina, director of community engagement at the California Reinvestment Coalition. To that finish, original federal rules are needed to regulate high cost car title, payday, and installment loans. Also needed: original overdraft rules. (Overdrafts, whether calculated as a loan, would arrive with a 17,000 annual percentage rate, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB.) Both these issues are being taken up by a CFPB rulemaking, the first step toward a regulation.

Why it’s needed: These financial instruments prey on the weak and desperate.

Who’s against it: Predatory lenders.

What are the chances of these proposals fitting law? In this political environment, they’re not that powerful, say experts. And that’s too wicked. These proposed rules could enact a world of superb for consumers.

Christopher Elliott specializes in solving unsolvable consumer problems. Contact him with your questions on his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google or sign up for his newsletter.



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