At some point in your life, someone has “ripped you off”: the crooked mechanic who charged you for “muffler bearings”, the electronics store that sold you a warranty that excluded “all electronic or non-electronic parts”, the “credit repair agency” that takes your money but does nothing to settle debts, a landlord who charged illegal late fees, or someone else who offered a product or service that was clearly not what it was represented to be. These rip-offs are frustrating, infuriating, and sometimes difficult to remedy.
This is especially true since the Michigan Supreme Court effectively gutted the state’s Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) in 1997 with its decision in the case Smith v Globe Life, 223 Mich App 264; 565 NW2d 877 (1997). In this ruling, the Michigan Supreme Court held that if a company engaged in business that was generally authorized by a statute, then the company could not be sued under the MCPA even if it engaged in specific acts that were clearly fraudulent, unfair, and deceptive. In other words, if the business is regulated in any way by any other legal authority, they can not be sued under the MCPA. Now, here’s the challenge: can you name a business that is not in some way regulated under one statute or another?
Fortunately, help is available. At Shelton Legal Services, we have stood up to scammers and obtained real results for our clients. We have made landlords stop charging illegal late fees, made crooked car dealers pay back their ill-gotten gains, and helped set legal precedents that prevent companies from using bogus contractual provisions to avoid liability when they are caught.
If you’ve been ripped off—or if your landlord is trying to steal from you by charging illegal fees or has locked you out—you need someone on your side. Browse this site for information on how you can protect yourself, and contact us if you need an attorney who puts scammers in their place.