March 2-8, 2014: National Consumer Protection Week
March 3, 2014
ANCHORAGE, AK –The Alaska Attorney General’s Office joins with government agencies, advocacy organizations, and private sector groups nationwide to remind consumers of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 2-8, 2014.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit urges Alaskans to take a few minutes during NCPW to learn about Alaska’s consumer laws. Many people know about the Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive business practices. But did you know that as a consumer you have “a private right of action” under the Act, meaning that you can file a lawsuit to stop unfair or deceptive practices or to get triple damages?
Here are five other Alaskan consumer laws that may be helpful to you:
- The 5-day “Cooling Off” Rule: If a person comes to your door to sell you something or sells you something at a location other than their place of business, you generally have the right to cancel the transaction within five days and get your money back. The law requires the seller to inform you of this right.
- Alaska’s Lemon Law: If you have a new car that has problems that no one can fix after a reasonable number of attempts, you may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle. But you will need to follow the steps required by AS 45.45.300. The Lemon Law does not cover used cars. There is also no “cooling off” rule for car purchases.
- Telemarketing: At the beginning of a call, telemarketers are required to tell you who they are and that the call is a sales call. They must end the call if you tell them you are not interested in the solicitation. Telemarketers, with some exceptions, must get a signed agreement from you before they can take payments from you. You can cancel telemarketing purchases within seven days for any reason and get a full refund. You can cancel at any time if the product or service was misrepresented or defective. Telemarketers must register with the Department of Law before conducting sales in Alaska, unless they meet an exemption.
- Opt-Out Marketing Plans: An opt-out marketing plan is a contract for the sale of goods or services that automatically renews unless you take affirmative steps to cancel within a specified time. Before using an opt-out marketing plan, a seller must be able to confirm that you expressly consented to the use of the plan after receiving all of the terms and conditions, including the steps required to cancel the plan and avoid future charges.
- Charitable Solicitations: Charities must register with the Department of Law before soliciting donations in Alaska. If a charity hires a paid solicitor to fundraise on its behalf, the paid solicitor must also register. It is unlawful for anyone to fundraise on behalf of a charity without first obtaining written permission from the charity. Before asking for donations, paid solicitors must disclose information including who they are, what charity they are working for, and how and where the donations will be used. It is unlawful for a charity or paid solicitor to mislead or deceive donors when making charitable solicitations.
For more information on these Alaska laws and other consumer issues or to file a complaint about unfair or deceptive business practices, visit the Consumer Protection Unit’s website or call 269-5200 (toll free, 888-576-2529) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NCPW website contains links to brochures, blogs, and other information on a variety of consumer issues.
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