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Minnesota Consumer Rights Blog

Common types of fraud to watch out for in Minnesota

Fraud can happen to unsuspecting consumers at any time, anywhere. Therefore, it's important to be aware of the places that fraud most commonly occurs, and the red flags to watch out for in people's behavior. Fraud could take place in a digital environment, or it could occur when you are in the shop of a supposedly reputable company.

The following are some of the most commonly reported incidences that can take place in the United States.

There are things debt collectors aren’t permitted to do

If you slip behind on any of your bills, there could come a point in the future when you hear from a debt collector. This may start with a letter in the mail, but it could soon move to phone calls at some point.

As a consumer, you know that debt collectors have the right to contact you in an attempt to collect money. However, it's important that you remember this: There are things that they are and are not allowed to do.

What counts as deceptive environmental marketing claims?

As concern about the environment heightens, it is becoming increasingly popular for companies to market themselves as environmentally friendly or as helping the environment in some way. Many companies use this type of marketing to take advantage of the "green dollar": the favorability that consumers have toward green companies. However, unfortunately some marketing campaigns and product information contains misleading information and downright lies.

What information does a marketer owe to consumers?

How to make a legal claim for food poisoning

Getting food poisoning is an all-too-common ailment that is caused by eating contaminated food of some sort. Food poisoning can occur due to eating undercooked meat or by consuming contaminated food, for example. It can be very difficult to determine the exact cause of food poisoning because the initial symptoms may occur days after the consumption of the food.

When affected by this illness, there can be serious, even life-threatening consequences. Therefore, many people want to make claims against the restaurant, bar or supermarket that they believe was responsible for their illness.

How is a manufacturing defect different from a design defect?

Products are often the cause of harm to a person, even after they have gone through all of the necessary quality checks that are mandatory before they end up on the shelves. When this happens, the injury that incurs can often be serious. This is especially true when a young child has been injured by a toy, for example, or when an electrical product has a fault. Many people decide to exercise their right to file a claim to recoup damages in this situation. If this is the case, the question must be asked: Was it a design defect or a manufacturing defect?

The answer to the question will be ultimately be decided by the courts, but it is important for you as the plaintiff to decide what you believe the cause of the injury was.

Important notes on civil asset forfeiture

Being subject to civil asset forfeiture can be a very stressful position to be in. Civil asset forfeiture means that a member of a law enforcement team has the legal right to cease and confiscate property that he or she has a reason to believe has been a part of some legal activity. This could be your car or another valuable possession that you own.

What can be even more frustrating for the person involved is that you do not even need to be convicted or found guilty of a crime yourself: Your property is what is being brought into question.

What are deceptive trade practices?

Trade practices often revolve around ambitious marketing, and with that comes a significant level of idealization. However, when these promises about a product or service go too far, an individual or organization can be accused of exercising deceptive trade practices.

So, what makes marketing campaigns or product information deceptive? A deceptive trade practice is defined as information that is distributed which is completely false or misleading in nature. It is also seen to be coercive toward the consumer and communicated specifically with the intention of drawing potential consumers into the lies.

Cases in which a consumer fraud lawsuit can be filed in Minnesota

Minnesota is one of several states the subscribes to the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA), a federal statute that was first instituted in 1964 and underwent revisions two years later. This law is backed up by Minnesota's Antitrust Law, drafted in 1971. Both make it illegal for businesses to take part in certain illicit trade practices that are either discriminatory or otherwise unfairly restrict trade.

Examples of a number of deceptive trade practices and the respective punishments for engaging in them is listed under UDTPA's §§325D.43-48.

Mistakes on your credit report could cost you thousands or a job

Many aspects of modern life involve people's credit scores and credit reports. Did your car break down and you want to buy or lease a new one? Your credit report will determine if you qualify and how much interest you'll pay.

Similarly, if you're ready for a new apartment or want to purchase a home, your credit will impact whether you can get a mortgage, which interest rate you'll pay and how good the overall terms of your loan are. Ready to move on to a better position? Chances are, your credit score will impact your likelihood of getting that job.

da Vinci surgeries may lead to patient injuries and deaths

Medical technologies have advanced patient care in many ways. But some have done just the opposite and contributed to patient injuries and an uptick in morbidity rates.

At least for some hapless patients, one of those iffy advances may be the da Vinci Surgical System, a robotic-armed device used for almost 400,000 surgeries in the United States in a single year.

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