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What should I know about unfair sales practices?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
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Unfair sales practices in Georgia Resources

Unfair sales practices in Georgia

What should I know? +

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What are my rights when buying goods?

You have the right to buy goods free from unfair or deceptive sales practices. Some practices that are considered "unfair" or "deceptive" in Georgia are:

  • Representing that goods are made by someone other than the person making them. An example of this would be putting a designer label on a non-designer garment.

  • Misleading buyers as to the geographic origin of goods and services. For example, labeling an American cheese with a label written in French to deceive buyers.

  • Representing that goods or services are sponsored or approved by a person or group when they are not. An example would be claiming that a certain brand of tennis racket is used by a tennis star, but it isn't.

  • Representing that a person has credentials that he or she does not have. For example, stating that auto repairs were done by licensed mechanics, but they weren't.

  • Representing goods as new when they are, in fact, used.

  • Advertising goods or services with the intent not to sell them as advertised.

  • Advertising goods or services without enough supply to meet a reasonable public demand. This is not deceptive if the advertisement states a limited quantity.

  • Lying about the reasons for price reductions.

  • Stating that products or services have uses, benefits, or qualities that they do not.

  • Falsely representing guarantees. For example, saying that a product has a three-year warranty when a critical part of it, like a car engine, does not.

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What are my responsibilities if I encounter unfair sales practices?

If you are the victim of unfair sales practices, you must take steps to enforce your rights. Many consumer protection laws require you to take action:

  • within a certain amount of time and

  • in a specific order.

 

If you are unsure about the steps you need to take, contact an attorney.

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What is the government’s responsibility in protecting me from unfair sales?

The Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division is responsible for enforcing the law. This division also helps consumers resolve conflicts with sellers. The Consumer Protection Division is responsible for enforcing other consumer protection statutes, including:

 

  • The Georgia Lemon Law Act: helps you get a defective vehicle repaired by the manufacturer.

  • Debt Adjustment Act: regulates services that promise to pay off your debt.Under this act:

  • A debt adjuster may not charge you more than 7.5% of the total monthly payment.

  • They money you pay the debt adjuster must be given to your creditors within 30 days.

  • Do Not Call Law: this prohibits telemarketers from calling you if you are on the Do Not Call Registry.

  • Sale of Business Opportunities and Multilevel Distribution Companies Act: requires multilevel marketing companies to give you specific information before you sign any contract.

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What can I do? +

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What can I do if I am a victim of an unfair business practice?

You can try to resolve your problem with the company first. If that doesn’t work, then you should contact the Georgia Department of Law's Consumer Protection Divisions. You can file a complaint in one of three ways:

 

  • You can call Georgia Department of Law's Consumer Protection Division. Call (404) 651-8600 or 1 (800) 869-1123 to talk to a customer service representative.

  • You can send a letter explaining the problem. Include copies of all relevant documents like ads, canceled checks, and contracts.

  • You can send information through an online form on the Consumer Protection Division’s website.

 

The state can then investigate, and if appropriate, take action to stop the violation. Alternatively, you can sue the business. In order to sue, you must first give the seller 30 days' notice. If the company corrects the problem within that period, the problem is considered resolved.

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Resources

Last Review and Update: Nov 14, 2019