Columbus Consumer Protection Lawyers
Honest, ethical, and scrupulous businesses, salespeople, contractors, lenders, investment advisors, and health care providers far outnumber those who are more interested in making money regardless of the harm their products or services can create. That acknowledged, any time money changes hands—whether in person, online, via credit or debit card transaction, or bank transfer—the person sending the money runs a risk of getting swindled and suffering financial and physical damages.
Companies and individuals who operate fraudulently, negligently, or recklessly with no regard for customers’ health and well-being can inflict huge amounts of suffering. In addition to cheating people out of money by lying about what things cost and how they perform, organizations and individuals who make, market, and deliver defective, dangerous, or ineffective goods and services can inflict injuries and cause deaths.
Consumers who suffer due to shady or outright criminal business practices have rights to seek reimbursements and compensation under several federal and Ohio state laws. Holding dishonest and negligent corporations and their representatives accountable is not always easy, however. Knowing a person misrepresented him or herself as a health expert or investment advisor, that a product was advertised for one price but only available at a higher one, or that a building contractor promised to do a repair one way but showed a different result is often not enough. Consumers who take such cases to court need to present evidence of explicit or implied contracts, substantial harm, and the possibility that things could be made right through the payment of monetary settlements or awards, or some other form of relief.
Doing all that requires working with an attorney who knows how to handle consumer protection lawsuits. The Columbus, Ohio office of Leist Warner is staffed with consumer litigation lawyers who have that experience.
We Focus on Three Kinds of Consumer Protection Cases
Our Columbus consumer protection attorneys stand ready to represent clients in lawsuits arising from false or misleading advertising, misrepresentation, and bait and switch practices. Each of those categories of violations of fair and ethical business standards cover a lot of ground, so let’s look at each briefly.
- False or Misleading Advertising
Few ads are meant to be taken completely at face value, but advertisers have legal and professional obligations to communicate only accurate factual information. They cannot lie about prices, product ingredients, guarantees, or origins (e.g., claim an item is locally produced if it is not). Nor can an ad intentionally omit potential dangers that may lead consumers to avoid purchasing or using a product.
As just one example of how these rules for advertising work, think about a TV spot for a prescription medication. The drug maker must confine claims about uses and dosages to those approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, describe the most significant potential side effects, and advise consulting with a doctor or pharmacists before taking the drug. Failing to do any of that could leave the pharmaceutical company liable for making false guarantees/warranties and covering up risks in ways that could threaten patients’ lives. In such an instance, putting a Columbus false advertising lawyer on the heels of the drug maker would protect consumers.
Under law, any statement made with the intention to deceive is treated as a misrepresentation. When a misrepresentation is made with the intention of depriving a person of money, property, health, security, life, or well-being, it constitutes fraud. An example of a misrepresentation that could lead to a consumer/investor protection lawsuit would be collecting fees while encouraging a person to invest in stocks despite knowing or strongly suspecting the person will not make money on the investments.
- Bait and Switch
Businesses and service providers must do what they say they will. For instance, an auto repair shop cannot promise to install one type of brakes at an estimated price then charge a customer for much more because its crew decided on their own to use much more expensive parts. When the terms of an explicit or implicit contract change for any reason, the new terms must be fully disclosed and agreed to.
Contact a Consumer Law Attorney in Columbus, Ohio
Even when instances of consumer fraud constitute clear violations of laws such as the Federal Trade Commission Act or Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act, criminal convictions are rare. What few punishments do get levied generally amount to plea agreements under which false advertisers pay fines without admitting any wrongdoing. This makes civil courts the principal venues in which consumers can receive justice for falling victim to deceptive and harmful business practices.
Filing a consumer protection lawsuit without securing representation from a Columbus, Ohio, civil litigation lawyer is a bad idea. Companies and service providers called to account for engaging in false advertising, misrepresentation, or bait and switch will surely have a legal team. So must a consumer plaintiff.
If you need help receiving reimbursement and compensation from a corporation or service provider who cheated or injured you physically or financially, call Leist Warner at (614) 222-1000 or fill out this form. We cannot accept every case, and we never guarantee successful outcomes, but each initial consultation is free.