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Consumer Sourcebook

User's Guide | Table of Contents | Print Sourcebook Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol

Preface

Living in New Hampshire offers unique opportunities to enjoy a quality of life that has been lost in many other places while still having access to the vast majority of benefits that the marketplace offers to twenty-first century Americans.

Unfortunately, New Hampshire consumers need effective protection from some of the dangers and risks that the marketplace presents. In the pages that follow you will find that we have provided some general information about the laws that apply to a variety of consumer transactions, some examples of how the law might apply to a situation, some points to keep in mind if you find yourself in similar circumstances and some ideas for where to turn for more help. The Sourcebook is not intended to give you legal advice, but whenever possible we have described the laws and legal concepts that apply to the purchase of many goods and services in simple, direct terms.

This is the third edition of the Sourcebook. The first edition was released in 1996 and the second edition in 2001. A number of people need to be credited for their work. They include the staff of the Attorney General's Office in 1996, especially Associate Attorney General Charles T. Putnam, Senior Assistant Attorney General Walter L. Maroney, and legal intern Someshwer Rao Takkallapelli, who contributed many hours to the project. The 1996 edition also made use of the expertise of other interns and staff at the Attorney General's Office, including Nolan Koon, Diana Jankowski Parker, Lisa Firkey, James Rosenberg, Lisa Lamphere and Kimberly Therrien, who researched one or more topics and helped us to get the descriptions of the law right. Suzann Enzian Knight of the UNH Cooperative Extension Service contributed extensive first drafts of several chapters relating to credit problems. For the 2001 edition, Associate Attorney General M. Kristin Spath, Senior Assistant Attorney General Mary Castelli, Attorney David Rienzo, and Legal Interns Christine La Valle, Amy Mayhew and Charles Gathungu contributed to the expansion and revision of the Sourcebook. For the 2006 edition, we need to thank the NH Attorney General's Office staff and Matty Leighton, Administrative Assistant in the Family Studies Department at UNH, without whom this edition would not have been finished.

Although we are indebted to all these people, we alone shoulder the responsibility for errors and omissions in the pages that follow. If you are in doubt about any of the information that is presented here or want help in applying it to a specific situation that you face, you may wish to consult an attorney.

We hope that the New Hampshire Consumer's Sourcebook will help to make the marketplace more accessible and understandable for our fellow citizens by providing the information needed to avoid the pitfalls that await the ill-informed or unwary.

Elizabeth M. Dolan
Richard Head
Durham and Concord, New Hampshire

back to topUser's Guide

We have made the New Hampshire Consumer's Sourcebook as easy as possible to use as a reference book. Nevertheless, you might want to consider the following tips before diving into the Sourcebook searching for answers to your questions:

  • Browse the Table of Contents and Boxes to get an idea of what topics we have included. Although the main chapters are laid out in alphabetical order to make it easier for readers to find information, the "Extra Note" boxes have been distributed in various parts of the book to save space and paper. The other boxes, "Watch Out For" and "For Your Information," are part of the sections to which they relate.
  • Read 1st Word, a general overview of contracts, first to find out how principles of contract law govern much of what happens in the marketplace. Much of "consumer protection" can be best understood within the context of contracts.
  • Use the Index, Table of Contents, and Boxes, and the alphabetical arrangement of chapters, as aids in finding information that you want.
  • Most sections of the Sourcebook have a summary of the laws that apply to the topic, lists of points to consider and places to go for more information or help.
    • The Law will help you get a better understanding of your rights and obligations, and may help you to negotiate with a business, present your case in small claims court or decide if you need other help.
    • Points to Remember will be especially helpful if you want to know what steps to take to protect yourself before you have a problem.
    • The Examples should give you an idea of real applications and situations, and may make a relatively complicated idea easier to understand. We have tried to make the Examples amusing as well as useful.
    • Finally, Where to Go If You Have a Problem provides some suggestions on where to turn for help if you have already had a problem.

We have tried to make the information in the Sourcebook as accurate and current as possible. Laws change, however. If you have access to the Internet, you may want to visit the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau's site on the State of New Hampshire's Official Web site for updated information.

We hope that you enjoy using the Sourcebook.

back to topTable of Contents

900 Numbers
1st Word

Advertising
Auto Inspections
Auto Leasing
Auto Repairs
Autos: New
Autos: Used
Auto Titles

Balloon Loans
Bank Savings Accounts
Bankruptcy
Business and Franchise Opportunities

Charitable Solicitations
Check 21
Child Restraint Law
Choosing a Credit Card
Co-Signing a Loan
Condominiums and Timeshares
Consumer Information on the World Wide Web
Credit Cards
Credit: Debt Collection
Credit Discrimination
Credit Records: Privacy and Other Concerns
Credit Repair
Credit Reporting
Cyber Traveling with Children

Debit (ATM) Cards
Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act
Defective Goods
Door-to-Door and Home Solicitation Sales

E-Commerce
E-Commerce Checklist

Failed Businesses
Finding Legal Help
Free Credit Report
Funerals

Gift Certificates

Health Clubs
Home Equity Loans and Second Mortgages
Home Heating

Identity Theft
Internet Access Products

Late Credit Card Payments
Leasing Consumer Products
Lemon Law
Licensed Professions and Regulated Activities
Loans and Financial Services

Mail and Telephone Order Sales
Minimum Credit Card Payments
Mobile Home Parks
More Rights Concerning Credit Reports
Moving Companies

No-Signature Transactions

Odometer Tampering
Office Supply Scams

Pay-Day Loans
Pets
Private Mortgage Insurance
Prizes and Sweepstakes
Problems Requesting Annual Free Credit Report
Protecting Your Financial Privacy

Rain Checks
Remedies: Small Claims Court
Remedies: Writing a Complaint Letter
Rent-to-Own
Rental Referral Agencies
Right of Rescission

Schemes, Swindles, and Other Scams
Secret Program Files
Service Contracts and Extended Warranties
Short Billing Cycles and Rate Hikes
Specialty Credit Reports
Spot Delivery Sales
Stored Value Cards
Student Loans

Telemarketing

Warranties
What to Do If You Are Contacted by a Debt Collector

Universal Default
Unordered Merchandise

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New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658