Consumer Law

Consumer Law

Prof. Eric M. Fink

Elon Law School

Consumer Law

Eric M. Fink
Office hours by appointment

Winter 2016
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 3:30–5:20 pm


This course surveys federal and state laws aimed at protecting consumers in market transactions. After completing the course, you should have a basic understanding of consumer protection law (including sources of law, enforcement mechanisms, and available remedies). In-class and take-home simulation problems provide an opportunity to develop practical skills for representing clients in consumer disputes. Topics to be covered include unfair and deceptive trade practices, consumer product quality and safety, consumer credit, and debt collection.

Requirements & Grading

Class sessions for this course will combine traditional law school format (lecture & discussion of assigned material) and practice simulation problems. I expect you to attend each meeting, read the assigned material thoroughly in advance, and participate actively in class.

Your grade for the course will be based on in-class and take-home problems (50%) and a final take-home examination (50%). Excessive absences (3 or more classes), persistent lack of preparation, or inattention during class (including but not limited to inappropriate use of computers or electronic devices) may result in a reduction of your grade.

Elon Law School has adopted the following attendance policy for all courses:

The Law School administers a policy that a student maintain regular and punctual class attendance in all courses in which the student is registered, including externships, clinical courses, or simulation courses. Faculty members will give students written notice of their attendance policies before or during the first week of class. These policies may include, but are not limited to: treating late arrivals, early departures, and/or lack of preparation as absences; imposing grade or point reductions for absences, including assigning a failing grade or involuntarily withdrawing a student from the class; and any other policies that a professor deems appropriate to create a rigorous and professional classroom environment.

In case of illness or emergency, students may contact the Office of Student and Professional Life, which will then notify the student’s instructors. A student may notify the faculty member directly of a planned absence and should refer to individual faculty members regarding any policy that may apply. In the case of prolonged illness or incapacity, the student should contact the Office of Student and Professional Life.

The Law School honor code applies to all activities related to your law school study, including but not limited to conduct during class and examinations.

Required Materials

Katherine Porter, Modern Consumer Law (Aspen 2016) (“Casebook”)

Additional resources are available on the course website:

Outline & Reading Assignments

Introduction: Sources & Scope of Consumer Law

What is Consumer Law?

Casebook, pp. 1-17; 561-575

Who is a Consumer?

Casebook, pp. 17-31

Who Makes Consumer Law?

Casebook, pp. 32-48

Communicating with Consumers


Casebook, pp. 49-72


Casebook, pp. 73-88

Consumer Information

Consumer Privacy & Identity Theft

Casebook, pp. 89-105

Kelly Gates, The Securitization of Financial Identity, 20 Journal of Communication Inquiry 1 (2010)

Credit Reporting

Casebook, pp. 106-130

Josh Lauer, The Good Consumer: Credit Reporting & the Invention of Financial Identity in the United States, 1840-1940, 11 Enterprise & Society 686 (2010)

Credit Discrimination

Casebook, pp. 131-158

Consumer Deception & Product Quality

UDAP Statutes

Casebook, pp. 159-180


Casebook, pp. 181-203

Consumer Finance

Usury & Credit Cost Disclosures

Casebook, pp. 204-243

Credit Cards

Casebook, pp. 299-313

Bank Accounts & Transactions

Casebook, pp. 380-404

Special Cases

Automobile Sales & Financing

Casebook, pp. 314-333

Payday & Student Loans

Casebook, pp. 335-379

CFPB, Payday Loans & Deposit Advance Products (2013)

Louise Seamster & Raphaël Charron-Chénier, Predatory Inclusion & Education Debt: Rethinking the Racial Wealth Gap, 4 Social Currents 199 (2017)

Online Purchases

Casebook, pp. 405-424

Enforcement & Remedies

Creditor Remedies

Casebook, pp. 425-444

Debtor Remedies

Casebook, pp. 445-468

Debt Collection Practices

Casebook, pp. 469-491

Public Enforcement

Casebook, pp. 492-517

Private Enforcement

Casebook, pp. 518-537

Consumer Arbitration

Casebook, pp. 538-560