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
- Employee or Independent Contractor?The Federal District Court for the District of Maryland recently determined in Braxton v. El Dorado Lounge, ELH-15-3661 (Oct. 27, 2017), that exotic dancers are employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Maryland's state law version, the Maryland Wage and Hour Law.
- 7 Legal Loopholes that Actually ExistThe law is the law, and there is no getting around that. Right? Well, not technically. In the law, several loopholes exist that really don’t make any sense. These are due to the way the laws are written, poorly thought out laws, and using almost inapplicable laws to justify actions.
- Medical Marijuana: A Growing IndustryFor states where marijuana is legal as a medicinal alternative or the only necessary drug, the industry is growing far past what was estimated initially. The use of this substance for pain and other symptoms for ailments is widespread for the states that have legalized use, and the industry keeps growing based on the need for various substitutes to current pain medication.
- Construction Delays - Are Damages Available?Construction contracts usually provide a date, materials used, amount needed to finish the project and similar factors that could affect the job. However, when the construction on the building or structure has not been completed as per the contractual obligations, the owner of the land or unfinished production may be entitled to damages.
- Domestic Products Preferred in Contracts with the Federal GovernmentDuring certain Presidential Administrations, there are certain preferences in domestic products for contracts awarded to businesses that work for or with the federal government. When these preferences are made, the business and employees have a greater responsibility to ensure that products, materials and resources are not outsourced but processed through domestic businesses and clients.
- Airbnb Is Asking for User Verification - Is this a Violation of My Privacy?The ability to authenticate an account is important for many businesses, and this could involve possible complications when a mass of members dispute these processes due to privacy and confidentiality issues. However, if the terms and conditions have been agreed to, the company website may have the ability to impose these restrictions based on the conditions explained.
- Selling or Licensing a RecipeWhen attempting to build a company or business through intellectual property, it is important to know if the invention or process should be initiated by the individual, sold or traded for possible better benefits in the future. It is also important to have a lawyer versed in these matters available to ensure the rights of the owner are protected throughout the procedure.
- Minors Which May Legally Sign a ContractMinors sign contracts occasionally, but these situations cause severe complications for a business if the employer is not family. However, there are certain instances where a minor is permitted to become involved in contractual obligations as if he or she were an adult facing the same choices.
- Sports Contracts: Minor League Versus Foreign LeagueMinor league sports contracts are for those that love the game but are not paid as much as major league players, and foreign leagues could offer more if the player is willing to relocate overseas. However, each contract is different, and it is important to read the fine print along with the terms and conditions that apply and how they bind the player.
- Modeling Contract BasicsModeling contracts are what bind an individual person in the modeling industry to a client or company, and this comes with the usual terms and conditions necessary to remain under the contractual agreement. However, there are different types of contracts and obligations based on these agreements between parties.
- 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.