Consumer Protection

Place Your Protection

Before you make a major purchase, consider these 10 tips:

  1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Ask a lot of questions and comparison shop.
  3. Wait 24-hours before you finalize the purchase; in most cases you don’t have the right to change your mind after you’ve made a major purchase.
  4. Don’t be intimidated by sales tactics. It’s your money; you can always take your business elsewhere.
  5. Insist that any promises and warranties be in writing.
  6. Never sign anything you don’t fully understand.
  7. Never give your credit card or checking account number to anyone over the phone or through the mail unless you know and trust the company.
  8. Ask for written estimates before you have any repairs made.
  9. Keep receipts, sales slips, and warranties for as long as you own the product.
  10. Know who to call for help. Check with your local Better Business Bureau or the Idaho Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Bureau.

Warranties

The two main types of warranties are express and implied. It’s important to note that if you buy something “As Is” no warranty applies.

Express Warranty: An express warranty can be either written or verbal and provides a guarantee that the product will meet a certain level of quality and reliability. Many such warranties are printed on a product’s packaging or made available as an option.

Implied Warranty: Most consumer purchases are covered by an implied warranty, which means it is guaranteed to work as claimed. For example, a vacuum cleaner that does not create enough suction to clean an average floor is not meeting the implied warranty for that product.

If you feel that what you bought is not meeting either the express or implied warranty for the product, you should take the product back to the seller, explain the problem, and request to have the problem fixed, the product replaced, or get a refund.

Lemon Law

Idaho Lemon Laws cover defects that significantly impair the use, value, or safety of a new car under warranty. If the manufacturer or dealer has made a reasonable number of attempts to repair it, the car could be a “lemon” as long as your abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications did not cause the damage. If a car is determined to be a lemon, the manufacturer or dealer is required to replace it with a comparable new car or refund the purchase price, including the value of any trade in, up to 105% of the suggested retail price of the car.

If the dealer or manufacturer refuses to replace the damaged car, you can bring a lawsuit against them to get the problem fixed. If it gets to this point, any costs associated with resolving this issue, including your attorney’s fees, must be paid by the dealer if they are found liable.

Telephone Solicitation & No Call Laws

Idaho’s No Call Law helps you reduce the number of unwanted telephone solicitations you receive. Under both Idaho and federal law, it is illegal for telemarketers to call your number (either home or mobile phone) if it is registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. If a telemarketer does call a registered number, inform them that the number they have called is part of the Do Not Call Registry and ask them not to call you again. If they do continue to call, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the telemarketer can face a court action and civil penalties.
If you do purchase something from a telemarketer, you have the right to receive written confirmation and an itemized billing of the purchase and to cancel the purchase, without obligation, for up to three business days after receiving written confirmation.

Door-to-Door Sales

Just like with phone sales, if you make a purchase valued at $25 or more from a door-to-door salesman, you are allowed a three-day grace period to cancel the purchase. The salesperson should give you written notification of this grace period along with a receipt and contact information for the company. If you do cancel the purchase, the company must refund your money and cancel any contract you have signed.

Small Claims Court

Another way you can get a solution if the seller is unwilling to fix a problem is to file a suit in Small Claims Court. A Small Claims Court is a local court where claims for small sums of money (valued at $5,000 or less in Idaho) can be heard and decided quickly and cheaply, without legal representation. You can get more information about Small Claim’s Court from Idaho Legal Aid Services.

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