Consumer Protection & Rights

Introduction | Federal Trade Commission | Unfair Business Practices | Resolving Consumer Problems | Review


Consumer protection is the practice of protecting consumers from unfair practices in the marketplace. Consumer protection measures are often established by law and efforts for consumer protection are also undertaken by non-governmental organizations. The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection stops unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices by collecting complaints and conducting investigations, suing companies and people that break the law, developing rules to maintain a fair marketplace, and educating consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.

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Consumer Rights and Responsibilities

Consumer Rights

Assignment: LifeSmarts Learn it Live it Video Check

Directions: After watching and studying the video on LifeSmarts Learn it Live it, answer the video questions in itsLearning.

Federal Trade Commission

A consumer is an individual that acquires goods or services for personal use. That means that everyone who has ever purchased something is a consumer. As a consumer, you expect to receive high quality goods and services although that is not always the case. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American. It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy. The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers' interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies.

The FTC works to protect consumers from unfair business practices such as:

    price fixing
  1. Price Fixing
    1. When competitors are selling the same product and agree to charge the same price to avoid competition and force consumers to pay higher prices
    2. This is an illegal practice
    3. Competition requires companies to continuously improve their products and services
  2. False Advertising
    1. Misleads the consumer or includes false statements
    2. Claiming a product does something that it does not do
    3. Leaving out important facts about the product
  3. Unfair Pricing
    1. Misrepresenting the price of goods by indicating they are on sale when the price has been inflated than discounted
  4. Mislabeled Goods
    1. Labeling goods must not mislead consumers to think that the package contains more than it actually does
    2. Must contain a warning label if there are dangers to using the product
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False Advertising

Scams & Fraud

Assignment: Scams and Fraud Nearpod

Directions: Complete the Nearpod lesson. You must join the lesson using the join code CJZQA. If you do not join and use your first and last name, you will not receive credit for this assignment. You must complete all exercises and quizzes contained within the lesson. Once you have completed the Nearpod lesson, reflect on 3 things that were contained in the lesson that will influence your purchasing decisions in the future. Your reflection should be at least 100 words and then take the Nearpod quiz also located in itsLearning.

Assignment: Scams Current Event

Directions: Read a few of the FTC's Most Recent Scam Alerts. Select one and write a short (about 50 words) summary of the scam alert and include what consumers can do to protect themselves from the scam.

Pyramid Schemes

A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products. Can you spot a Pyramid scheme? In 2004, a nutrition company offered a life-changing opportunity to earn a full-time income for part-time work. There were only two steps to get started: purchase a $500 kit and recruit two more members. By 2013, the company was making $200 million. There was just one problem -- the vast majority of members earned less than they paid in. Stacie Bosley explains what a pyramid scheme is and how to spot one.

As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal. Pyramid schemes have existed for at least a century in different guises. Some multi-level marketing plans have been classified as pyramid schemes.

Resolving Consumer Problems

resolution to customer complaintsThings don't always go right. Sometimes you don't get what you ordered; sometimes you get an item out of the blue. What are your obligations? And by the way, are there advantages to using any particular method of payment in terms of consumer protections?

Having a problem with a product or service can be frustrating. When you're trying to resolve a problem with a company, the first step should be to discuss your concerns with a representative of the business. Although consumers are often frustrated or even angry, they should avoid taking out that frustration or anger on the customer service representative. This person did not cause you the wrong. Remember the adage, "you'll attract more bees with honey than vinegar."

The FTC offers consumers help with resolving consumer problems including refunds, returns, and shipping and billing errors. You can read more about problem resolution remedies at:

Returns and Exchanges

Assignment: You Get What You Pay For discussion

Directions: You may have heard the phrase, "You get what you pay for." What do you think this phrase means? Are there certain things that one should always expect when making a purchase? What might those things be? Compose your thoughts into a thread and post to the discussion board. Then read the posts from your classmates and chose two to reply to.

Assignment: Letter of Complaint

Directions: A letter is important. It puts your complaint on record with the company, helps preserve any legal rights you may have in the situation, and lets the company know you're serious about pursuing the complaint. Choose a real product or service that you have been displeased with. If you have never been displeased you will have to make it up. Find the real address to the company responsible for the product or service. Find the name of the person or department who should receive your letter. The details of the complaint are important as well as what you expect as redress. The letter must be free of spelling and grammatical errors. The letter must be polite and professional. Clearly communicate your issue and what resolution you are seeking. Prepare your letter and submit to itsLearning for grading (you do not have to sign your letter for this assignment).


A warranty is a type of guarantee that a manufacturer or similar party makes regarding the condition of its product. It also refers to the terms and situations in which repairs or exchanges will be made in the event that the product does not function as originally described or intended.

Consumers are constantly being flogged extended warranties especially for electronics and new vehicles. Scott Abbot asks what extended warranties do and don't cover, and reveals what to say to people trying to sell them to you.

Assignment: Extended Warranty Discussion

Directions: When you buy products on Amazon, for example, you are often asked if you wish to purchase an extended warranty for an additional cost ranging from a few dollars to a couple of hundred depending on the purchase price of the item. Can you think of a situation where you would buy the extended warranty versus when you probably would not? Do you think it is necessary to purchase extended warranties on products? Explain. Feel free to ask your parents about their extended warranty experience. Post your response and then reply to two classmates to continue the conversation.



If you are having problems viewing this page, opening videos, or accessing the URLs, the direct links are posted below. All assignments are submitted in itsLearning. If you have having problems, contact Mrs. Rush through the itsLearning email client.

Resolving Consumer Problems:

FTC's Recent Scam Alerts:


How to File a Complaint Infographic:

Consumer Rights Infographic:

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