Consumer Protection Law

Consumer Protection in Oregon and Washington

Originally the law of the United States, inherited from England, did not go very far to protect the consumer.  The legal maxim was “buyer beware” and the general feeling that it was the duty of the buyer to investigate and be careful.  The law only protected a buyer if the defect was intentionally hidden or the facts of the case shocked the judge.  The “consumer protection” law was primarily created by the judges using the precedent of other reported cases.     As society in the United States changed and became more urbanized, the skill of the buyer decreased.  It was easier to sell tainted meat to the city folks than to a farmer.  As the buyers complained to the legislators, consumer protection laws developed.

Both Washington and Oregon have detailed consumer protection laws. Some laws are specific to industries, like the automobile lemon law, and others are more general.

What Types of Consumer Protection Cases Does Tollefsen Law Take?

TL cannot take even a fraction of the cases offered to it. Most are under $10,000 and rarely justify the legal expense. It often takes an hour or more to evaluate the case to see if the law was broken. The consumer then wants the lawyer to take the case on a contingency fee basis. Even though the law allows attorney fees, judges rarely allow full recovery of the lawyer’s time. So the lawyer must work on the case for a year or more and then accept a reduced fee. Consumer Protection cases rarely make business sense for law firms.

Unless it is an hourly fee case, a class action, or part of a major damage case (like securities fraud) TL rarely takes consumer protection cases. We provide this information on our website is to give callers a place to start investigation of their rights.

Tollefsen Law Fees – please note the requirements for contingency fees

Even so some consumers are incensed and want justice.  TLO does not have the free time to address all the telephone calls and email. But if you feel you must do something, here are some choices:

Contact the Attorney General consumer divisions

Take it to small claims court where no attorneys are allowed ($5,000 limit in WA; $5,000 in OR)

Per Se Violations of Washington’s CPA

Washington Consumer Protection Laws

Should I sue? Collectability