Legal issues

Legal issues

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As e-commerce continues to grow in the United States and abroad, new consumer protection laws are needed. Use the Internet to research recent developments in consumer protection for transactions through cyberspace. (Kubasek et al., 2013, p. 754-5). Consider cyberspace consumer protections that may affect the business in which you work, in which you would like to work, or from a situation you have experienced. Think of this issue from the perspective of a business working with customers; consider how protecting customers may cost your business profits, or, how it might make your business profits by “differentiating” your business from others like it. Then, consider this from the perspective of a legislator or regulator, trying to protect customers from this situation. (Some ideas: identity theft, credit card interest rates, airline baggage fees, etc.). Be creative.
Make a recommendation for a government regulation, or law that you would like to see enacted. Think of the consequences (good and bad) of the proposed regulation or law that you have suggested to businesses, and to consumers. Consider any unintended consequences that might occur. Your paper should have the following sections:
1. Regulation or law proposal. Be very specific in the wording. (Your own idea and words). (20 points).
a. What problem did you find in your research online that your regulation plans to address? Include a citation to the article(s) that describes the problem. (10 points)
b. What consequences might your proposed regulation/law have on affected businesses? Describe one good and one bad consequence. (10 points)
c. What consequences might your proposed regulation/law have on protected consumers? Describe one good and one bad consequence. (10 points)
d. Consider unintended consequences. What might one be? Describe it. (5 points).
2. References
o Include a reference(s) from the problem(s) you found in your online research. (5 points)
o APA formatting required. (5 points)
o 65 points.
3. Goulet v. Education Credit Management Corp., 284 F.3d 773 (7th Cir. 2002).
4. 25-14
5. After graduating from law school—and serving time in prison for attempting to collect debts by posing as an FBI agent—Barry Sussman theorized that if a debt-collection business collected only debts that it owned as a result of buying checks written on accounts with insufficient funds (NSF checks), it would not be subject to the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Sussman formed Check Investors, Inc., to act on his theory. Check Investors bought more than 2.2 million NSF checks, with an estimated face value of about $348 million, for pennies on the dollar. Check Investors added a fee of $125 or $130 to the face amount of each check (which exceeds the legal limit in most states) and aggressively pursued its drawer to collect. The firm’s employees were told to accuse drawers of being criminals and to threaten them with arrest and prosecution. The threats were false. Check Investors never took steps to initiate a prosecution. The employees contacted the drawers’ family members and used “saturation phoning”—phoning a drawer numerous times in a short period. They used abusive language, referring to drawers as “deadbeats,” “retards,” “thieves,” and “idiots.” Between January 2000 and January 2003, Check Investors netted more than $10.2 million from its efforts. The Federal Trade Commission filed suit in a federal district court against Check Investors and others, alleging, in part, violations of the FDCPA. Was Check Investors a “debt collector,” collecting “debts,” within the meaning of the FDCPA? If so, did its methods violate the FDCPA? What might Check Investors use to argue in its defense? Discuss. Explain. Federal Trade Commission v. Check Investors, Inc., 502 F.3d 159 (3rd Cir. 2007).
6. 25-15
7. CrossCheck, Inc., provides check authorization services to retail merchants. When a customer presents a check, the merchant contacts CrossCheck, which estimates the probability that the check will clear the bank. If the check is within an acceptable statistical range, CrossCheck notifies the merchant. If the check is dishonored, the merchant sends it to CrossCheck, which pays it. CrossCheck then attempts to redeposit the check. If this fails, CrossCheck takes further steps to collect the amount. William Winterstein took his truck to C&P Auto Service Center, Inc., for a tune-up and paid for the service with a check. C&P contacted CrossCheck and, on its recommendation, accepted the check. When the check was dishonored, C&P mailed it to CrossCheck, which reimbursed C&P and sent a letter to Winterstein, requesting payment. Winterstein filed a suit in a federal district court against CrossCheck, asserting that the letter violated the FDCPA. CrossCheck filed a motion for summary judgment. Who won? Explain. Winterstein v. CrossCheck, Inc., 149 F. Supp. 2d 466 (N.D. Ill. 2001).
8. 25-16
9. Source One Associates, Inc., is based in Poughquag, New York. Peter Easton, Source One’s president, is responsible for its daily operations. Between 1995 and 1997, Source One received requests 753754from persons in Massachusetts seeking financial information about individuals and businesses. To obtain this information, Easton first obtained the targeted individuals’ credit reports through Equifax Consumer Information Services by claiming that the reports would be used only in connection with credit transactions involving the consumers. From the reports, Easton identified financial institutions at which individuals held accounts and then called the institutions to learn the account balances by impersonating either officers of the institutions or the account holders. The information was then provided to Source One’s customers for a fee. Easton did not know why the customers wanted the information. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts filed a suit in a Massachusetts state court against Source One and Easton, alleging violations of the FCRA. Did the defendants violate the FCRA? Explain. Commonwealth v. Source One Associates, Inc., 436 Mass. 118, 763 N.E.2d 42 (2002).
The FTC needs to set tighter standards with regard to advertising aimed at children. The FTCA is supposed to protect consumers from deceptive advertising, and it is about time the FTC does its job and enforces the law.
Children are less sophisticated than adults, and they’re unable to separate reality from fiction. Therefore, they are more susceptible to the cunning ploys of marketing and advertising wizards. These people show no shame, endlessly manipulating small children just to make money.
“How are our children being manipulated?” you ask. It’s obvious. Every time they turn on the TV, they’re subjected to a plethora of commercial advertisements. Many of the TV shows that kids watch are nothing more than half-hour advertisements for a particular toy. Additionally, the ads themselves mislead children. In the ads, toy companies show kids looking as happy and satisfied as possible while they play with the toys. The children who see these images are convinced that if they only had the toy, they would be just as happy. When they actually receive the toy, however, they find that it’s fun to play with for a few hours, but not much longer. They never experience the continuing climax of joy that the advertisers make them think they will. Such disappointments are likely to harm the children psychologically, making them become cynical at a young age.
For these reasons, the FTC must step in to protect our children from these money-hungry marketers. To fail to do so is to jeopardize America’s future: its children.
• 1. What primary ethical norm is downplayed by this argument?
• 2. In this argument, what is the relevant rule of law to which the author refers?
• 3. What reasons does the author give for tighter control of advertising aimed at children?
• 4. Please state opposing arguments to those set out by the author in this essay.
As e-commerce continues to grow in the United States and abroad, new consumer protection laws are needed. Now that you know something about current consumer protection laws in the United States, use the Internet to research recent developments in consumer protection for transactions through cyberspace. Make a list of recommendations for new regulations or rules that you would like to see enacted. What ethical norms are implicit in your recommendations?
ON THE INTERNET Here is a law library site that is a good place from which to begin your research about consumer protection issues.

Institute provides an overview of debtor–creditor law, as well as links to recent debtor–creditor law decisions. The Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection website provides citizens of that state with consumer information. Many states similarly offer some form of consumer protection information online. The FTC maintains a website with consumer information. This site is the National Consumer Law Center, which provides a wealth of information on the topic of debtor–creditor relations and consumer protection.

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