This course surveys the major modes of consumer protection used in the law and the means by which these are developed and enforced, as well as the beliefs about consumers and markets that animate these choices. Consumer law is an immense topic, including everything from products liability to investor protections. With a focus on consumer credit (e.g., credit cards, home mortgages, overdraft loans, payday loans, student loans) and debt, we will examine some or all of the following:
the move from common law fraud and contract claims to statutory unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices claims,
the costs and benefits of disclosure, defaults, price caps, and bans in consumer credit transactions,
the tension between facilitating transactions and minimizing the risk of errors and abuses in our private credit reporting and debt collection systems,
the successes and limits of legal prohibitions on discrimination in consumer transactions,
the regulatory and enforcement roles and processes of the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, State Attorneys General, and other federal and state banking regulators,
private enforcement of consumer law in the age of arbitration, and
managing compliance with the vast law governing consumer financial transactions.