Retail Law

What is Retail Law?

Retail and Consumer Law refer to the body of laws related to the sale and advertising of various consumer products. It is comprised of a vast body of both state and federal laws and regulations. Retail businesses are those that provide goods to customers, usually by selling them from a physical store location.

What Does Retail and Consumer Law Include?

Retail law includes matters like consumer protection laws; laws that protect the rights of consumers and ensure fair trade competition. These laws also provide for truth in advertising, assuring that consumers are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous retailers. Retail law and consumer protection are designed to prevent businesses from practicing fraud or unfair practices that would give them an inappropriate advantage in the marketplace.


Many consumer protection laws take the form of required disclosures, such as providing consumers with detailed information about products, particularly in areas where safety or public health could be an issue. These laws are enforced both by government agencies and by private retail and consumer rights groups that monitor their members, like better business bureaus.

Other Retail and Consumer Laws

Other laws relate to retail pricing, preventing unfair practices that would take advantage of consumers. For example, price gouging after natural disasters, or artificially lowering prices to starve out competitors then raising prices above market rates once the competition has left the market place. Other illegal activities include charging excessive "convenience fees" for credit card swipes, and trading in stolen goods.

For additional information about retail law, please review the materials provided below. Additionally, if you are in need of legal representation related to your retail law concerns, please click on the Law Firms tab above for a list of attorneys in your jurisdiction who may be able to assist you.


Retail Law - US

  • ABA - Retail Leases

    The "Nuts and Bolts of Retail Leases" is a bi-monthly conference call series designed to provide newly practicing lawyers, as well as those new to the retail leasing field, with a basic understanding of the provisions and concepts that are unique to retail leases.

  • CFR - Title 16 - Commercial Practices

    The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States. The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

  • DOL - Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments

    Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

  • Federal Trade Commission

    The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American. It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy. The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers’ interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies.

  • NIOSH - Wholesale and Retail Trade

    During the past 40 years, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has conducted studies involving worker populations from the wholesale and retail trade sectors. These studies describe the work of cashiers, sales persons, stocking clerks, materials handlers, order pickers, grocery packers, telephone sales representative, gas station clerks, and fork lift drivers, to name a few of the common occupational titles studied by NIOSH that pertain to workers in 146 trade-based businesses.

  • Organized Retail Crime Act of 2009

    To amend title 18, United States Code, to combat, deter, and punish individuals and enterprises engaged nationally and internationally in organized crime involving theft and interstate fencing of stolen retail merchandise, and for other purposes.

  • Retailing - Definition

    Retailing consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be individuals or businesses. In commerce, a "retailer" buys goods or products in large quantities from manufacturers or importers, either directly or through a wholesaler, and then sells smaller quantities to the end-user. Retail establishments are often called shops or stores. Retailers are at the end of the supply chain. Manufacturing marketers see the process of retailing as a necessary part of their overall distribution strategy. The term "retailer" is also applied where a service provider services the needs of a large number of individuals, such as a public utility, like electric power.

  • Swipe Fee Fix

    Retailers’ long fight against the $48 billion in credit and debit card swipe fees imposed each year by banks took a major step forward in May when the Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Majority Whip Richard Durbin requiring that debit card fees be set at a “reasonable” level.

  • US Census - Retail Trade

    The Retail Trade sector comprises establishments engaged in retailing merchandise, generally without transformation, and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise. The retailing process is the final step in the distribution of merchandise; retailers are, therefore, organized to sell merchandise in small quantities to the general public.

State Retail Associations

Organizations Related to Retail Law

  • Agricultural Retailers Association

    ARA Mission Serving as the ag retail and distribution industry's voice, the Agricultural Retailers Association advocates before Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure a profitable business environment for members.

  • Association for Retail Technology Standards

    The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) of the National Retail Federation is a retailer-driven membership organization dedicated to creating an open environment where both retailers and technology vendors work together to create international retail technology standards. ARTS is a separate council within the NRF governed by a council of retailers and technology solution providers.

  • National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys

    National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys The National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys is a trade association dedicated to serving law firms engaged in the business of consumer debt collection. NARCA's mission is to elevate the practice of debt collection law through member networking, education advocacy and outreach.

  • National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR)

    The National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR) is the leading trade association exclusively representing chain restaurant companies. For more than 40 years, NCCR has worked to advance sound public policy that best serves the interests of both chain restaurants and the millions of people they employ. NCCR members include some of the country’s largest and most respected quick-serve and casual dining companies. The National Council of Chain Restaurants is a division of the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade group.

  • National Retail Federation

    As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2009 sales of $2.3 trillion.

  • Retail Advertising Marketing Association (RAMA)

    The Retail Advertising Marketing Association (RAMA), a division of the National Retail Federation, provides unique networking opportunities, industry research and educational programming for retail advertising and marketing professionals. NRF members are able to take advantage of the added value of participating in RAMA as a benefit of membership with NRF.

  • Shop Organization, a division of the National Retail Federation, is a member-driven trade association whose exclusive focus is to provide a forum for retail executives to share information, lessons-learned, new perspectives, insights and intelligence about online and multichannel retailing.

Publications Related to Retail Law

  • Retail Info Systems News

    Provides updates, news, practices and insight into the retail industry.

  • Retail Sales Outlook

    NRF's Retail Sales Outlook is a bimonthly report on industry sales, providing a thorough overview of the current retail climate and projecting retail industry sales for the year.

Articles on Related to Retail Law

  • Forming a Medical Corporation in California
    California has specific laws that govern the formation of a medical practice or health care facility in California. The creation of the business entity requires a unique blend of corporate law experience and health care law expertise.
  • Effect of Forgery on a Contract
    Contracts are voluntarily entered into every day by two or more parties who wish to be bound by them. However, this may not be the case when one of the signatures on the contract is forged. There are certain actions that an individual can take if he or she learns of forgery.
  • Can I Get a Second Opinion for My Case?
    While many individuals ask for a second opinion after receiving a medical diagnosis, these same individuals feel hesitant to do so in a legal case. However, individuals are usually entitled to seek the advice of an attorney of their choice in order to receive a second opinion or other legal counsel.
  • Can I Get Palimony?
    Palimony derives its name from alimony that is paid to a person who was living with another person buy the two were not married to each other. It is similar to alimony, but the requirements to receive it may be heightened or not afforded in some jurisdictions.
  • Can I Get Damages if My New Appliance Caused Damage to My Home?
    When a person purchases a new appliance, he or she expects it to do the job that it is intended to do. However, in some cases, a defective appliance may cause damage to a person’s property through a water leak, electrical issue or other defect. In some instances, a consumer may be able to receive compensation for such damages.
  • Smoking the Peace Pipe in South Dakota
    A new pot resort in South Dakota will be opening up soon on tribal land, despite the fact that pot is not yet legal in South Dakota.
  • Is a Contract Valid if I Signed While Drunk?
    When drinking (or otherwise impaired), people often make unbelievably poor choices. This, of course, leads to common problems like drunk driving and regrettable tattoos. Other times, it could lead to problematic legal relationships. This leads many to ask, “Is a contract valid if I signed it while I was drunk (or otherwise impaired)?”
  • Can Storage Companies Remove My Belongings?
    When a person has more belongings than he or she can comfortably store in a home, he or she may take extra belongings to an off-site storage company. The circumstances about which the storage company can remove belongings are based on state law and the specific contract.
  • How Do I Get Out of a Co-Signed Lease?
    When a person cosigns on a loan, he or she is agreeing to be liable for the remaining balance if the original person on the lease fails to fulfill his or her obligations under the loan. If that person does not handle the lease in a responsible manner by making ongoing and timely payments, this can negatively impact the co-signer’s loan.
  • What is the Relevance of “Industry Standards” Under the Law?
    Many people have heard the term “industry standard” bandied about during legal discussions, whether in contract negotiations or during lawsuits, but most may not know what this really means. Indeed, many practitioners may be unclear on the meaning and use of “industry standards,” as well.
  • All Business and Industry Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Business and Industry including: agency and distributorship, agency law, business and industry, business formation, business law, commercial law, contracts, corporate governance, corporate law, e-commerce, food and beverages law, franchising, industrial and manufacturing, joint ventures, legal economics, marketing law, mergers and acquisitions, offshore services, privatization law, retail, shareholders rights and utilities.

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