Vol. 14, No. 1, Pg. 34. Common consumer complaints.

Author:By Dave Maxfield

South Carolina Lawyer


Vol. 14, No. 1, Pg. 34.

Common consumer complaints

34Common consumer complaintsBy Dave Maxfield36One of the clients in your corporate practice mentions that his daughter just signed a contract for a car that she really can't afford. "I told her not to worry, because she has three days to cancel the contract, right?" he asks you.

Your pro bono client tells you that a debt collector is calling his employer. He is worried about getting fired and wants to know if the calls are legal.

A longtime client calls you about her apartment lease. "I moved out months ago and have not received my security deposit back from the landlord. Isn't there a law preventing him from doing this?" she asks.

No matter what kind of practice you have, you may from time to time, have clients ask you for help with a consumer problem. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Don't I have the right to cancel any contract, including a car sales contract, within three days?

Generally, no. Many believe that there is a three-day "cooling off" period for consumer contracts. There are types of contracts, including door-to-door sales contracts, to which the law provides consumers with a right to cancel. However, most other contracts are binding when signed unless the contract specifically provides the consumer with a right to cancel.

Car sales contracts are generally binding and cannot be canceled. However, if the financing terms or any other terms of the contract have not yet been finalized, the consumer may not be bound even if she has signed a purchase order or other document. It is best if consumers do not take delivery of the car until all of the terms of the contract have been finalized.

At the end of my residential lease, can I skip paying the last month's rent and let the security deposit take care of it?

No. A tenant is bound to pay all rent due through the end of the lease. The security deposit protects the landlord not only from non-payment of rent, but also from any damage the tenant might cause to the rental unit.

Tenants who are worried they will not get their security deposits back should know that the law protects them. South Carolina law defines a "security deposit" as money held in trust by the landlord to secure the full and faithful performance of the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. S.C...

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