January 1, 2012 8:52 PM
Chapter 44 Lecture
Note # 1
by Spring Walton
Note edited by Spring Walton on 01/03/2012 08:07PM
Consumer law issues include those of contracts (including UCC sales), torts, crimes, and product liability, often acting as a backup to the failures and shortcomings of those other areas of the law. All of them provide some measure of consumer protection, yet none stand alone as being complete. They are interdependent and, as such, students must be aware of the big picture of consumer protection.
This chapter covers the fourth major set of venues within a quadripartite of remedies ...view middle of the document...
They are reactive remedies as opposed to proactive forms of prevention of harm. It has been argued that large civil judgments act as societal signals that are designed to discourage repetition of undesirable behavior.
The third side to our quadrilateral picture is found in contract. Contract law has the advantage of providing the consumer with the opportunity to anticipate any problems before they befall him or her. This notion is traditionally found in the doctrine of caveat emptor which courts of another age used with cavalier abandon. Both the common law of contracts and its progeny, the Uniform Commercial Code, have come a long way from the bad old days of “Let the buyer beware.”
In spite of all this progress in the areas of crime, torts, and contract, the gap between consumer harm and consumer protection continues to remain unfilled. Legislators at all levels of government have sought to help fill this void with a number of consumer protections measures. These measures can, and often do, have a prophylactic effect on many potential harms to the consumer. Unfortunately, another hallmark of many of these measures is that they are the end product of a trail of harm that has reached a crisis or disastrous level. Consider how long it took to take certain dangerous prescription drugs or unsafe toys off the market. Where these laws do provide a measure of safety, some consumer comfort may be found in “at least better late than never.” Protection from harm has come a long way, but there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.
II. Chapter Objectives
* Describe government regulation of food and food additives.
* Describe government regulation of drugs, cosmetics, and medicinal devices.
* Explain the coverage of consumer product safety acts.
* Identify and describe unfair and deceptive business practices.
* Describe the coverage of consumer credit protection statutes.
III. Key Question Checklist
* What consumer concern is at issue—public health, product safety, trade practices, credit, or a combination of two or more of these?
* What consumer protection laws cover the issue?
* How should the consumer protection law(s) concerned protect the consumer?
IV. Text Materials
Section 1: Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Safety
The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act establishes the FDA to regulate the testing, manufacture, distribution, and sale of foodstuff, drugs, cosmetics, and medicinal devices. The FDA is empowered to enforce the act, and requires most food additives, drugs, and medicinal devices to receive approval before entering the market.
The FDA is a federal administrative agency with legislative, executive, and judicial powers.
Regulation of Food – The FDCA prohibits the sale or shipment of adulterated food. It also prohibits false and misleading labeling of food products.
Food Labeling – The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act requires food manufacturers and...