The Houston Bar Association's Consumer Law Handbook serves as a guide for consumers on an array of topics, such as information on credit, warranties, buying a car, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, landlord and tenant issues, fraud, insurance, medical and health rights, and consumer dispute resolution in the court system.
Consumer Law Handbook Overview
The handbook is in a question-and-answer format, divided into consumer law topics. All consumer law issues cannot be addressed in one handbook. But it may give you an overview of your rights and remedies.
This handbook is based on Texas law and is meant to inform you, not advise you. Talk to a lawyer about your situation.
Consumer Law Handbook Table of Contents
To help you navigate the Consumer Law Handbook,TexasLawHelp.org has included its table of contents.
Consumer Issues and the Court: Resolving Disputes
This section informs consumers on dispute resolution strategies including notifying the merchant, filing complaints with the proper department, mediation procedure, and Justice Court procedure. This section also provides information on judgments, contract law, and affordable legal resources.
See page 3 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
Buying and Selling: The Deceptive Trade Practices Act
This section outlines the protections provided to consumers through the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, consumer warranties, and strategies for vehicle purchasing and repairs.
See page 15 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
Buying a Car
The "Purchasing an Automobile" section of the handbook explains "lemon laws," credit, warranties, and repossession. It includes a checklist to use when considering buying a car.
See page 25 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
This section provides information on credit, secured credit, fair credit billing, credit reports, payday loans, and protections against creditor harassment.
See page 40 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
This section lists the protections surrounding debt collection, bankruptcy, and repossession in Texas. This section includes a state and federal debt collection law as well as the resources provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
See page 57 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
Dwellings: Landlord-Tenant Disputes, Rental Agreements, Homeowners
This section describes the rights of renters and homeowners as it comes to repairs, utilities, and landlord violations. Information on subleasing, security deposits, and defects in the property are also available. Further information for homeowners on construction liens, warranties, and mortgages can be found at the end of this section.
See page 67 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
The fraud section identifies the variety of fraudulent trade practices fraud protections, and strategies for if you have already been defrauded.
See page 83 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
Insurance: Texas Insurance Law
This section covers the various aspects of insurance including insurance premiums, liability and property insurance, insurance claims, and insurance complaint forms.
See page 90 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability): Health Information
The HIPAA section covers protected health information (PHI), access and disclosures of medical records, health information and worker's compensation, and access to the Department of Health and Human Services.
See page 96 of the Consumer Law Handbook.
Note that effective September 1, 2020, the maximum amount of money that you can get in damages in small claims court has increased to $20,000 from $10,000. Learn more from the Texas Justice Court Training Center’s blog post here: Jurisdictional Limit Increase Now in Effect. Read Texas Rules of Civil Procedure part 5.
About credit reports and how to correct them.
This article explains your rights and options under the law if you are facing debt collection.
This article explains what can and cannot be done through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
This article tells you what a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is and what it can and cannot do.
This article explains your other options if you are considering filing for bankruptcy.
This article provides information about unlawful utility disconnection in Texas.