285.4 sec. 1 - Consumer Protection Law (Fall 2014)
Instructor: Ted Mermin (view instructor's teaching evaluations)
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Meeting Time: M 6:25-9:05
Meeting Location: 141
Course Start: August 25, 2014
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49841
The law of consumer protection governs every purchase you make, every advertisement you see, every student loan in your expanding portfolio. It may be the single most relevant body of law to your own experience and your everyday life. And yet -- somehow you haven't learned in law school whether it would be better to buy that casebook with a credit card or a debit card, or whether it's legal for a telemarketer to call and warn you that your auto warranty is about to expire, or what it is you were supposed to ask before you signed that loan application.
Consumer protection law has broader consequences as well. Many issues that fill the headlines -- the mortgage crisis, the flood of foreclosure and debt relief scams, the activities of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- relate directly to decisions about the enactment and enforcement of consumer protection laws.
This course will explore the theoretical and historical underpinnings of consumer protection law as it has developed over the past century and as it operates (or fails to operate) today. The course will examine constitutional issues governing consumer law, from "commercial speech" to federal preemption of state law. It will provide an introduction to the substantive law of predatory lending, debt collection, and product warranties. It will explore the application of consumer law to emerging technologies. And it will do all this in just three hours each week.
(How much would you pay for this course? Wait -- don't answer yet. There's more....)
With the White House, Congress, and state legislatures all focused on consumer protection issues, students will examine proposed laws and regulations, perhaps offer comments on those proposals, and very likely offer some proposals of their own.
(NOW, how much would you pay?)
The low, low price: There will be two papers, one fairly short (5-8 pages) and one fairly long (20-30 pages).
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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.