to the Street Law Cases and Resources pages. Using the buttons
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of other units. All links within these pages are just a mouse click away
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Of a Contract
Make sure you understand what a contract
is and how a contract is formed. Read Ten Tips for Making Solid Business Agreements and Contracts. What are the key elements of a contract? In what situations do people need contracts?
are important in everyday life as well as to small businesses.
Read how the elements of contracts are still very similar for individuals
and for businesses.
text gives the example of Sally and Lorenzo making an oral
contract to exchange $150 for a motorcycle. Be familiar with
you should know about oral contracts and how they hold up
Read a sample
contract for pet puppies. What is the purpose of this contract?
Does it contain all of the key elements of a contract? What other types
of provisions does it have?
must have the legal capacity to make a contract. Generally, contracts cannot
be enforced against minors. Learn what reaching the age
of majority means. However, if you are an emancipated
minor, you can be held to your contract.
the Bargain. Why are there problems with minors signing contracts?
What other groups are in a similar situation?
and Oral Contracts
contracts are enforceable, but what kinds of problems can
they create? What kinds of oral contracts are not enforceable? Read about
of frauds. Although some oral contracts are enforceable,
read why a written
contract is usually better. What policy reasons are behind
the statute of frauds?
Read a definition of adhesion contracts. Although adhesion contracts can be illegal, they are usually enforceable. One example of an adhesion contract is a credit card agreement. Now, read some examples of illegal contracts and who is protected by each defense.
the Bargain. What are the various types of illegal contracts?
What can a court do if it thinks a contract is unconscionable?
sure you understand
what a warranty is supposed to protect. What does the FTC
have to say about warranties?
What factors should you keep in mind when comparing warranties?
How can salespeople write
readable warranties? What makes a warranty effective?
Read the Magnuson-Moss
Warranty Act or read Understanding
the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. What rights does
this act give consumers?
What are your implied
warranty rights? When you buy something, is it automatically
covered by a warranty? If so, what do those automatic warranties cover?
What don't they cover?
how implied warranties affect a landlord/tenant
agreement to lease a place to live. What are you risking
if you buy something "as is"?
Reread the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (text page 277) or read Understanding
the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. How do
disclaimers and warranties interact?
Read some real disclaimers: disclaimer
2. What are the writers of these disclaimers concerned with?
Cards and Charge Accounts
Review the basics
of credit cards and make sure you understand what each term
means. Read an annual
report on all credit cards during the past year. What did
you learn about the different types of credit companies?
a site made for students to learn more about credit
and how credit
companies work! For a comprehensive guide to credit, read the Consumer
Handbook to Credit Protection Laws. How does credit work?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using credit?
with Your ATM Card. What are the various ways you can use
an ATM card? What kind of safety precautions do you need to take when
using one? How are they different from credit cards? How are they similar?
Read Debit Card Frequently Asked Questions. How do debit
cards work? What should you do if your card is lost or stolen? How can
you protect your card?
Even though computers are involved, mistakes happen. Review every bill
you receive from a credit card company. You should be aware of what you
are spending and if any errors appear on the bill. Understand how to deal
or errors on your bill.
the Fair Credit Billing Act (text page 282) in full text or in short
form. What does this act accomplish?
credit card companies are running a business, and they are designed to
make a profit from the customer, the debtor. Be
aware of how you are paying to use a credit card and protect
yourself from paying too much to use a credit card.
Should You Use Credit?
and Using Credit Cards. Considering the way credit cards
work, when do you think that you should use credit and when do you think
you should use cash?
card companies often target
teenagers. Know what you are getting into when you use
a credit card and be sure that you can afford the purchases
that you make.
Cost Of Credit
To understand the cost
of using a credit card, make sure you understand all of the
fees involved. What fees
and rates should you consider when getting a credit
Read Choosing a Credit Card to learn how to compare annual percentage rates, fees, and other features. What are the different ways to calculate interest?
Find out how much your credit card is costing you, just to make payments
on items you purchase with the card. What is the cost
of your debt? What will be the cost to pay
off your credit card? What is the cost of only paying the
minimum on the card?
the Truth in Lending Act (text page 287) in full text or short form. Does this act protect lenders or borrowers? Give your
Lenders Want To Know Before Extending Credit
Set.....Credit . How can you check you credit record? What
is a credit history? What information is on your credit
report? Remember, getting your credit report is free! What
if you find an error
in your credit report? Learn how to correct
Read the Equal Credit Opportunity Act or read about equal
credit opportunity in general. How does this act promote
equal opportunity to get credit?
To Do If You Are Denied Credit
Although there are laws and protections to be sure that credit practices
are fair, you do not have an automatic right
to credit. Revisit Ready,
Set.....Credit. What actions are suggested for people who
have been denied credit? What are the possible reasons for being denied
is the decision
made to deny someone credit? What can you do to improve your chances of
Read the Fair
Credit Reporting Act (text page 290). What rights does
this act create?
and Collection Practices
Americans experience debt, and the stress of high debts.
Know the warning
signs of financial trouble. If a consumer is in debt, it
is important to know the debtor's
is a serious action. What are the alternatives to filing for bankruptcy?
How long will bankruptcy stay on your credit reports?
Debt Collection Practices Act (text page 292)
and read about fair
debt collection in general. What are the obligations
of a debt collector? What are they not allowed to do?
Read the Wage Garnishment Act (text page 294). What is the purpose
of this act?
and Telephone Sales
Educating yourself about door-to-door
practices will help you tell the difference between honest
and dishonest salespeople. How should you deal with door-to-door salespeople?
What questions should you ask? Are you allowed to cancel an order?
and adolescents may go door-to-door for many purposes, such as collecting
donations or selling items. How are the laws
regarding minors selling door-to-door the same or different
than for adults?
Get some straight
talk about telemarketing. How can you protect yourself against
telemarketing scams? How does telemarketing fraud often work? Who are
likely targets of such scams? You better learn this
stuff because swindlers
How should salespeople approach telephone sales? Read the FTC's guide for businesses about
With The Telemarketing Sales Rule.
Read the Kentucky
state statute on referral sales. What types of referral sales are not
allowed in that state? Read the law of one state on referral sales. Now
read an explanation
of the law (scroll down to the paragraph titled “Referral Sales”). What is the principle behind this state law?
and the Consumer
Read the FTC's
policy statement regarding advertising substantiation. What
makes an advertisement acceptable according to the FTC?
How have cigarette companies marketed their products to minors? Read Tobacco Marketing to Kids. What evidence is there that tobacco companies
try to influence children? Find out what the Campaign
for Tobacco Free Kids is doing to help keep kids from smoking.
of ethics for advertising from the Better Business Bureau.
Learn how to complain
when a business has violated the rules of advertising. Can't get enough?
Look through the hundreds of articles about advertising organized by the University
Protect yourself from advertising scams, like the "bait
and switch" technique. Read a news article about a company
prosecuted for bait
and switch on the internet. Would you have fallen for this
types of pricing schemes are considered deceptive? Read FTC Guides
Against Deceptive Pricing.
What is the proper way to conduct mail-order sales? Read A
Business Guide to the Federal Trade Commission's Mail or Telephone Order
Merchandise Rule. What do direct marketers have to do to
comply with the rules?
Visit the Direct
Marketing Association. How can they help solve mail order
disputes? What are the advantages and disadvantages of mail order sales?
The Bandit In Your Mailbox. What kinds of mail should you
watch out for? How can you defend yourself against mail order fraud?
given to Texans about mail-order sales. Why do you think
this warning is needed?
When you need something repaired, from your computer to your
home, be familiar with the company or repairmen that offer
to work for you.
for getting your car repaired. Which of these tips apply to all kinds
who feel they have been overcharged, should contact the Better
Business Bureau for help.
You may be familiar with the internet, but make sure you understand all
and safe surfing before you start. Learn about the rules
of the road.
you receive "spam" in your mailbox? Learn about ways to fight
spam on the internet.
What are the dangers of shopping online? Visit OnGuard Online, a federal government site with tips for online consumers, and Consumer Report's Guide to Shopping Online What are the pros and cons of shopping
How can you avoid being influenced by advertisers when making purchases?
Real Deal for tips. How do advertisers try to convince you
to buy their products?
idea of influencing consumers to buy products has evolved into the field
of marketing. Learn about marketing and the strategies
used to successfully advertise. Next time you see an advertisement, think
about which strategy is being used to grab your attention!
and Consumer Protection
Read the Federal Trade Commission Act (text pages 310, 312). What
is the purpose of the FTC? What are the FTC's policies regarding advertising?
Deception Policy Statement and the FTC's
Unfairness Policy Statement. How does the FTC evaluate advertisements?
What makes an ad unfair or deceptive?
Read the Consumer Product Safety Act (text page 311) or read an overview.
What does the Consumer Product Safety Commission do?
Read the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act. The government passed laws so
that we can understand and trust the food
labels on our food products. Do you read the food labels
when you buy food?
with Disabilities Act (text page 311). How does this
act help people with disabilities?
and Local Consumer Protection
Look through this list of state and local
consumer protection agencies and find the contacts for your own area. Some states have divisions of state or local government just for consumer protection. How does your state compare with others?
Your Rights As A Consumer
Consumer Problems and describe the different steps
you should take to solve disputes with businesses. Do you think that the
sample letter on this page is effective? What makes it effective/not effective?
the sites of associations that help consumers: Better
Business Bureau, National
Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, National Consumers League, Consumer
Federation of America Foundation, and Consumer
World. How do these organizations assist consumers? How are
these organizations different in their approaches?
the sites of federal consumer protection agencies: Federal
Trade Commission, Food
and Drug Administration, Consumer
Product Safety Commission, U.S.
Postal Service, Department
of Transportation, and Federal
Communications Commission. What area does each agency cover?
How do the agencies help consumers? What is the importance of information
in consumer protection?
agencies are not federal, but rather state organizations working to protect
consumers. Check out the State
Consumer Protection Pages, which list the current major campaigns.
Your Case To Court
Read When Should You Sue?. When considering
if your consumer case should go to court, consider that the perpetrator
could be guilty in criminal court or liable in civil court. What should you think about before you
take your case to court?
Read all about small
claims court. How does small claims court work? Why types
of disputes can be settled in small claims court?
consumers is a criminal act. Learn more about the fraud section of the criminal division at the US
Department of Justice.
you file a consumer case in civil court, you must think about where to
file the case. A court must have the authority to decide the issues in
your case. This is called jurisdiction.
For example, look at the Connecticut
rule on filing a consumer transaction case.
If you are thinking about buying
a car, learn about the basics before you go.The most important
step to take when making a large purchase, such as buying a car, is to
educate yourself. Learn how to research car and trucks through organizations
a new car at Nolo and at the Consumer
Information Center. What concerns do you have to keep in
mind when purchasing a car?
Would you prefer to buy a used car? Visit Nolo and
Information Center. How is buying a used car different from
buying a new car?
trust the seller of the car to give you all of the information you need.
As a consumer, you are responsible for doing some investigating.
What are safest cars on the market now?
Read about leasing a car at Nolo
and at the Federal Reserve Board's Quick Consumer Guide. What are the advantages and disadvantages
of leasing a car? Learn how to read
a lease and understand the terminology in the lease.
Download this worksheet (on the right side of the page, under "downloads") to compare the costs and benefits of buying and leasing.
Read the Consumer Leasing Act (text page 334) or read an overview.
How does this act help people who enter leases?
or buy a car is a personal decision, but it should also be
an informed decision!
A Special Kind Of Contract
Read about the various types
of rental agreements. How do the different kinds of agreements
differ from each other? It is can be exciting to think living on your
own. There are many things
to consider before this decision is made.
Watch out for illegal provisions in rental agreements. Why are
these types of provisions illegal?
laws are often different in each state regarding tenancy and leases. Read
the rules in Massachusetts
Compare your state's laws. If you know and understand your lease, you
will be in a better position to advocate for your rights!
When you sign a lease, you are agreeing to all of the terms in that lease,
even if you did not read it! Read
your lease and feel comfortable with the agreement. Read about landlord/tenant law in Washington State.
What are the responsibilities of a landlord and tenant? What happens if a rental unit needs repairs?
Read about security
deposits. What are the rules?
When is a landlord allowed to access and inspect a tenant's apartment?
Read about a landlord's
right of entry. When is the landlord invading the tenant's
Rights to Sublet, Share, and Assign Apartments. If you want
to sublease your apartment, how should you go about it?
with all that you must consider? Go back to the basics
of the lease and see how much is familiar to you now!
Is There a Right to Housing?
Read Facts about Homelessness and read the Homeless
Fact Sheets. What causes homelessness? What can be done to
decrease or eliminate homelessness?
are the legal
rights of homeless people? What are the rights of homeless
children? Read through the American
Bar Association's publications on the homeless.
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Last Modified: February 28, 2001