Saturday, July 31, 2010

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety

This group (C.A.R.S.) fights for consumer rights in the area of automobile purchases:

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety

Check out this video they made about a used car nightmare:

Used car nightmare

For more information on the evils of binding mandatory arbitration for consumers:

Fight Binding Mandatory Arbitration

Greg Reichenbach
Bluffton, OH

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Elizabeth Warren should head the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection

Update September 15, 2010: President Obama has named Prof. Warren as a "special adviser" to help set up the  Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection:
Huffington Post story

The big banks are scared. They might actually be regulated. The new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has that potential, if it's headed by someone who (a) understands economics and the effects on ordinary people and (b) has the backbone to stand up to powerful interests. That person is Elizabeth Warren.
I have heard Professor Warren speak, and she has got to be one of the smartest people around when it comes to debt and economics. On top of that, she also has the ability to communicate clearly, and the moral backbone to stand up for what is right.
As a reminder, the banking industry – specifically subprime lending, combined with the drastic de-regulation begun in the 80's, is widely blamed for our current economic problems. So far, our approach to fixing things has been to give banks a bunch of money, with no strings attached. Not surprisingly, that has not worked.
Over the past several decades, the "regulators" in various administrations (Republican and Democrat alike) have tended to be industry lackies. That hasn't worked, because if the banking industry was trustworthy enough to police itself, then they wouldn't need to be regulated in the first place. Left unchecked, banks do what is best for the banks. We need the banks to do what is best for the country, and for regular people. The alternative is too costly, in terms of shattered lives, poverty, and health problems.
You would be amazed at how many people I've talked to who are sick because they work too much to take good care of themselves, and can't get medical care because their job doesn't provide insurance and they can't afford to pay for a doctor visit. That is a vicious catch-22 that should not happen anywhere, let alone in such a rich county as the USA.
We need to restore consumer protections that were stripped away, and re-regulate Wall Street. Elizabeth Warren is the woman for the job.

For more information, see:

To take action:

And, for a funny but interesting, take on the issue:
Steven Colbert interviews Barney Frank

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Introduction - What is consumer law?

Welcome to my consumer law blog. I want to start by describing what I think consumer law is. When someone has a dispute with a business about goods or services meant for personal, family or household use, that is a consumer law problem. Examples might be abusive debt collection or a used-car rip-off.

Why is it called "Consumer" law? I'll be honest -- I've never liked that term. It brings to mind the kind of over-consumption we tend to engage in in the United States, at least compared to many other places in the world. I think the reason the term came to be used is that consumer law looks at everyday transactions from the point of view of the person who buys (or consumes) something. Well, the term stuck, so I guess I'll use it too, since it is widely used among lawyers.

I want this blog to have some appeal to both lawyers and non-lawyers. So, I'm not going to use a lot of fancy legal terms and Latin phrases. But, I will occasionally use a little of each, to educate anyone who is interested.

Some of the things I'll post here:
  • News items
  • Examples of consumer law cases - either my cases or significant cases affecting Ohioans
  • Introductions to different consumer law topics
I'll be tweaking the blog as I go. Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email.


Greg Reichenbach
Bluffton, Ohio