Statutes We Enforce
Fair Business Practices Act
(O.C.G.A. Sections 10-1-390 et seq.)
Georgia's Fair Business Practices Act prohibits unfair and deceptive acts or practices in the marketplace. This law applies to consumer transactions involving the sale, lease or rental of goods, services or property mainly for personal, family or household purposes. The Georgia Department of Law's Consumer Protection Unit will pursue a case of this nature whenever the Attorney General determines there is a substantial public interest.
Unlawful activities that are prohibited by the Fair Business Practices Act include:
Passing off goods or services as those of another (example: representing that a product or service is manufactured or provided by company X, when in fact it is manufactured or provided by company Y).
- Claiming that goods come from a particular place, when in fact they do not (example: representing that products are manufactured in the U.S.A. when they are manufactured elsewhere).
- Representing that goods are new when they are actually used.
- Claiming falsely that goods or services are of a particular quality or grade, or that products are a certain style or model (example: selling 10K gold jewelry as 14K).
- Making false or misleading statements about another business or its products or services.
- Advertising goods or services with the intent not to sell them as advertised (example: using "bait-and-switch" tactics).
- Advertising goods or services without having enough merchandise on hand to meet expected demand, unless the advertisement states "quantities limited."
- Making false or misleading statements about sale prices (example: advertising "On sale today only," when the item has been offered at that price for the past month).
The Fair Business Practices Act also contains specific provisions relating to:
- Health clubs and fitness centers
- Promotional contests/giveaways
- Telemarketing fraud
- Fraud committed over the Internet
- Price gouging during a declared state of emergency
- Credit reports
- Going-out-of-business sales
- Vacation prize offerings
- Odometer tampering
- and more ...
Georgia Lemon Law Act
(O.C.G.A. Sections 10-1-780 et seq.)
The "Georgia Lemon Law Act" outlines a self-help process designed to aid you in getting your vehicle repaired. It covers new motor vehicles purchased, leased or registered in Georgia, or reacquired on or after January 1, 2009.
If the manufacturer fails to repair a recurring problem after a reasonable number of attempts and you meet certain eligibility requirements, you may apply for a state arbitration hearing. An arbitration panel may hear your complaint to decide whether you are entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund.
The previous version of the Lemon Law, the Motor Vehicle Warranty Rights Act, applies to new motor vehicles purchased, leased or registered on or before January 1, 2009.
Debt Adjustment Act
(O.C.G.A. Sections 18-5-1 et seq.)
Georgia's Debt Adjustment Act regulates services in Georgia that arrange to pay off consumers’ debts. A debt adjuster may not charge you a fee of more than 7.5 percent of the total amount you pay each month for distribution to your creditors.
A separate trust account must be set up for you, with certain safeguards including insurance and an annual audit that is filed with our office. The law requires that your funds be disbursed to your creditors within 30 days after you deposit them into your account. Criminal and civil penalties may result if a company violates this law.
Do Not Call Law
(O.C.G.A. Section 46-5-27)
The Georgia Do Not Call Law prohibits telemarketers who are selling a product or service from contacting households that have chosen to have their telephone numbers placed on the Do Not Call List.
Certain types of calls are exempt, such as those from charitable organizations, political campaigns, and businesses with which you have a prior relationship, unless you have asked them not to call you.
Georgia’s Do Not Call List is now a part of the National Do Not Call Registry, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. The federal government can assess penalties when telemarketers ignore or circumvent our laws protecting you from invasion of your privacy.
Sale of Business Opportunities and Multilevel Distribution Companies Act
(O.C.G.A. Sections 10-1-410 et seq)
Business opportunity companies sell or lease to you the right to start a business identical to the parent company. You then purchase products, equipment, supplies or services from the company.
Multilevel distribution is a form of retailing in which you earn a commission on products or services sold personally and by the distributors you recruit.
Under Georgia's Sale of Business Opportunities and Multilevel Distribution Companies Act, if you sign up for certain business opportunities or join certain multilevel distribution companies, you must be given specific information prior to signing any contract. Additionally, the contract must detail the terms and conditions for your payment to the company, the goods or services the company will provide, and the approximate delivery date for these goods or services. Please note, however, that not all business opportunities and multilevel companies are covered by this law.
Buying Services Act
(O.C.G.A. Sections 10-1-590 et seq.)
Buying clubs charge a fee to join and offer merchandise to members at below-retail prices. Under the Georgia Buying Services Act, a buying club must purchase an annual license, offer consumers a three-day membership cancellation period, and maintain a $25,000 bond for the protection of its members.
In accordance with the Georgia Charitable Solicitations Act, Georgia Department of Law's Consumer Protection Unit helps to ensure that charities operating in Georgia are also abiding by the standards of the Fair Business Practices act.