Consumer Safety Glossary

Consumer Safety Glossary

Bait And Switch

A fraudulent or deceptive sales practice in which a purchaser is attracted by advertisement of a low-priced item but then is encouraged to purchase a higher-priced one called also bait advertising.

Consumer Debt (Debt)

Debt that is incurred by an individual primarily for the purchase of consumer goods or services compare consumer credit.

Consumer Price Index

An index measuring the change in the cost of typical wage-earner purchases of goods and services in some base period called also cost-of-living index

Consumer Product Safety Commission

A federal agency that has primary responsibility for establishing mandatory product safety standards to reduce the unreasonable risk of injury to consumers from consumer products.

Consumer Protection

Laws designed to protect consumers against unfair trade and credit practices involving faulty or dangerous goods.


Something or a lack of something that results in incompleteness, inadequacy, or imperfection: as
a : a flaw in something (as a product) esp. that creates an unreasonable risk of harm in its normal use see also latent defect
b : an error or omission in a court document (as an indictment or pleading)
c : some imperfection in the chain of title to property that makes the title unmarketable.

False Advertising

The crime or tort of publishing, broadcasting, or otherwise publicly distributing an advertisement that contains an untrue, misleading, or deceptive representation or statement which was made knowingly or recklessly and with the intent to promote the sale of property, goods, or services to the public.


Food and Drug Administration see also the Important Agencies section

Inherently Dangerous

1 : of, relating to, or being an activity or occupation whose nature presents a risk of grave injury without the use of and sometimes despite the use of special skill and care
2 : of, relating to, or being an instrumentality or product that poses a risk of danger stemming from its nature and not from a defect.

Latent Defect

A defect (as in a product or property) that is not discoverable by reasonable or customary inspection [a latent defect excluded from the homeowner’s insurance]

Lemon Law

A statute that grants the purchaser of a car specific remedies (as a refund) if the car has a defect that impairs or significantly affects its use, value, or safety and that cannot be repaired within a specified period – See more at:


To brand (as a food item or drug) falsely or in a misleading way ;specif : to label in violation of statutory requirements

Product Liability Lawsuit

A suit brought by a person who has been injured by a product as opposed to being injured by another individual


1 : A call to return [a of workers]
2 : The right or procedure by which an official may be removed by vote of the people [a petition]
3 : The act of revoking
4 : A public call by a manufacturer for the return of a defective or esp. unsafe product.

Unreasonably Dangerous

Characterized by a hazard due to design, defect, or a failure to warn that would not be contemplated by an ordinary user of the product and that is not outweighed by utility [impose strict liability on the manufacturer or seller of an unreasonably dangerous product that injures an ultimate user].


1 : A promise in a deed that gives the grantee of an estate recourse (as through an action for damages) against the grantor and the grantor’s heirs in case the grantee is evicted by someone holding a paramount title called also covenant of warranty see also special warranty deed and warranty deed at deed
2 a : A promise in a contract (as for a sale or lease) which states that the subject of the contract is as represented (as in being free from defective workmanship) and which gives the warrantee recourse against the warrantor [a against defects is implied by the sale] see also breach of warranty at breach compare caveat emptor NOTE: A warranty was originally considered to extend only to those parties having privity of contract (as the manufacturer and dealer of an automobile), but cases have held that a warranty also extends to the final consumer who does not contract directly with the manufacturer. Both express and implied warranties may be modified, limited, or even waived by agreement of the parties. Breach of a warranty generally does not constitute breach of the entire contract.

express warranty
A warranty that is created in a contract by a statement of fact (as a description) which is made about the object of the contract and which forms a basis of the bargain

implied warranty
A warranty that is not expressly stated but that is recognized or imposed by the law based on the nature of the transaction

warranty of fit·ness
A usually implied warranty that the property being sold is fit for the purpose for which the buyer is purchasing it NOTE: Under the Uniform Commercial Code, a seller must know the purpose for which goods are being bought and that the buyer is relying on the seller’s skill or judgment in order for a warranty of fitness to be implied.

warranty of habitability
A usually implied warranty in a residential lease that the leased premises will be habitable NOTE: If a landlord breaches a warranty of habitability, a tenant may have such remedies as terminating the tenancy, recovering damages, or withholding rent. The warranty is based in many jurisdictions either on case law or statute.

warranty of merchantability
A usually implied warranty that the property being sold is merchantable (as by being of a quality that is generally acceptable in that line of trade) NOTE: Under the U.C.C., a warranty of merchantability is not implied unless the seller is a merchant with respect to the goods sold.
b : A usually written guarantee of the integrity of a consumer product and of the maker’s responsibility for the repair or replacement of defective parts see also Consumer Product Safety Act in the Important Laws section
3 : A statement made in an insurance policy by the insured that a fact relating to the subject of the insurance or the risk exists or will exist or that some related act has been done or will be done compare representation NOTE: A warranty in an insurance policy must be true or be fulfilled in order for the policy to be valid.

affirmative warranty
A warranty stating that a fact or condition is currently true

promissory warranty
A warranty stating that a fact or condition is and will remain true

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.