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
Shop.org, 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
Articles on HG.org Related to Retail Law
- Spot Delivery ScamThis type of car buying scam gets its name from purchasers who are sold vehicles “on the spot.” The dealership says that the buyer has been approved for the vehicle, but he or she is later told that the financing fell through. There may be some consumer protections to help affected buyers, and there are certainly ways to avoid this common scam.
- Is an Agreement Based on Duress Enforceable?Parties are usually free to contract as they see fit. However, if one party’s actions rise to the level of duress, the act of entering into a contract is no longer a voluntary process, and the contract may not be enforced.
- What Can I do if the Delivery Does not Match up with the Contract?Sometimes when a person or business orders goods, the items may not conform to the actual purchase order. When this occurs, the party receiving the goods has several options.
- Non-Compete Agreements in FloridaSome companies have their employees sign a non-compete agreement in which the employee agrees to refrain from working for competitors, setting up his or her own business or working in the same industry for a specific amount of time after the employment relationship with the employer has ended. If another company approaches a former employee who signed such an agreement, the employee may be tempted to take the new job.
- Understanding Commercial Agreements: What You Need to Know to Protect Your BusinessThe contracts that your business has with its landlords, clients, employees, vendors and/or suppliers are the components that help create the framework of your company. Everything your organization does depends on the protection and support of the terms and conditions in its contract (s).
- I Received a Bad Check – What Do I Do?If you have received a bad check, you may be able to pursue compensation or restitution through civil or criminal proceedings. However, state laws typically govern bad check disputes and certain elements may need to be met in order to recover the value of the bad check.
- Debt Collectors Being Sued for HarassmentDebt collectors sometimes use aggressive tactics to secure funds for their clients. However, if they overstep their legal bounds, they may be subject to harassment charges or other causes of action.
- Why Should an Entrepreneur Work With An Attorney to Start Their New Company?Most entrepreneurs and new business owners are working on tight budget and simply want to spend the least amount of time and money selecting a business entity and getting to work. After all, isn’t it as simple as downloading a few forms, filling in the blanks and submitting the corporate documents to the Secretary of State? Why would the owners of a new company want to spend the money to consult with an attorney?
- Resolving Breach of Contract Without Expensive and Time Consuming LitigationThere are definitely reasons to consider filing a breach of contract lawsuit even though you intend to find another path to resolve the situation. Filing the lawsuit puts the breaching party on notice that you are serious about holding them accountable, and may strengthen their resolve to cooperate to find a positive solution to the breach.
- California Craft Distillery Law and the Craft Distiller’s Act of 2015Until fairly recently, Prohibition-era laws have governed the liquor industry in California. As a result of amendments to these laws, craft breweries are now allowed to offer tastings and sell beer to customers. At present, however, distilleries of liquor can hold tastings, selling quarter-ounce samples, but still cannot make a direct sale of larger amounts to their customers. That is about to change if the Craft Distiller’s Act of 2015, AB 1295 passes and is signed into law.
- 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.