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Michigan’s once treasured Consumer Protection Act now sits in squalor thanks to the Engler dominated Michigan Supreme Court of the past few years. Last year marked the ultimate demise of any remaining teeth the law may have had when the Court, led by sleeping ex-Chief Justice Cliff Taylor exempted most, if not all, business regulated by state or federal law, such as home improvement contractors, mortgage companies, and plumbers.

In the midst of a housing fiasco the likes of which this society has never seen, consumers who were victims to the tactics of predatory mortgage companies find little solace in knowing that justice to the state’s highest court meant protecting big business instead of average citizens. Moreover, if you’re lucky enough to get financing for a new home, but you can only afford one that needs substantial renovations, you can forget about relying on the Consumer Protection Act as a guarantee that those roof shingles get fixed by builders.

With a new face on the state’s Supreme Court, and a chance to remove another justice (Robert Young) in 2010 who prefers corporate welfare over true justice, it’s time the Supreme Court roll up their sleeves and get to work on undoing the carnage of the past few years.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for CSC

    Builders are barely regulated if at all in about half the states. The building industry is pushing "right to repair" type laws that have passed in probaby more than half the states, and they are of course builder-friendly, removing many consumer protections and putting in place more obstacles for homeowners. Add arbitration clauses in many builder contracts and virtually all home warranty policies, and consumers are stripped of the right to use the courts at all.

    In states that do license builders it often amounts to nothing but a good ol' boy club where paying a fee is all that's required. Big builders who have many complaints against them appear squeaky clean by relying on multiple licenses or subcontractors licenses, or possibly buy or influence their way out of disciplinary actions.

    When a consumer buys a new house they dangerously assume there are solid consumer protection laws in place, and adequate legal recourse if things go wrong. They dangerously assume that if these builders were doing things wrong they'd be put out of business. In reality bad builders are a dime a dozen, and they go on building shoddy, even unsafe, homes under multiple corporations. Holding them accountable for code violations, shoddy work, dangerous construction, or breach of contract, is very hard. Complaints are hidden by secretive govt agencies, BBB's that cater to their paying business-members, and arbitration which is private. It's said that in many states, even those that 'regulate' builders, that all you need to be a builder is a pick up truck. That's about right.

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