Eric M. Fink
Office hours by appointment
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.
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 Privacy & Identity Theft
Casebook, pp. 89-105
Kelly Gates, The Securitization of Financial Identity, 20 Journal of Communication Inquiry 1 (2010)
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)
Casebook, pp. 131-158
Consumer Deception & Product Quality
Casebook, pp. 159-180
Casebook, pp. 181-203
Usury & Credit Cost Disclosures
Casebook, pp. 204-243
Casebook, pp. 299-313
Bank Accounts & Transactions
Casebook, pp. 380-404
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)
Casebook, pp. 405-424
Enforcement & Remedies
Casebook, pp. 425-444
Casebook, pp. 445-468
Debt Collection Practices
Casebook, pp. 469-491
Casebook, pp. 492-517
Casebook, pp. 518-537
Casebook, pp. 538-560