A lawyer offers substantive advice on avoiding financial scams, fighting for rights as a consumer, and managing debt.
In this collection, Ware (The Immigration Paradox, 2008) provides explanations, hints, resources, and cautionary tales on a wide range of issues related to consumer protection law. Each chapter focuses on a single topic, such as the fundamentals of medical malpractice, how to understand and manage a credit score, how to identify red flags when purchasing a business franchise, and the different protections afforded credit and debit cards. Ware, an attorney, is clearly knowledgeable about consumer law, and provides citations of both case law and other resources for a general audience. The book’s advice ranges from the basic and practical (such as urging readers to shred unwanted credit card solicitations and to learn to recognize phishing emails) to more specialized topics (such as the mechanics of the foreclosure process and the legal restrictions on debt collectors). The author also provides a bullet-pointed summary at the end of each chapter. The final chapters specifically address the book’s subtitle, as Ware explains the historical practice of imprisoning debtors and the recently passed laws in several states that make it legal in certain circumstances. Although the book provides a wealth of useful information, its tone is uneven, jumping between folksy, chapter-opening jokes of questionable quality and overly pedantic formatting that’s more appropriate to legal documents, including “supra” and “infra” citations. It also makes excessive, incorrect use of quotation marks for emphasis (“do not just ‘glance’ at these documents”; “the ‘reputation’ of an investment manager”). However, the book’s advice is solid, and readers who look to it for information on the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission, for example, or the difference between debt consolidation and debt settlement will likely be satisfied with its contents.
A knowledgeable, comprehensive guide to the legal rights of consumers, presented in a format that might have benefited from a stronger edit.