The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

How Do Consumer Protection Laws Safeguard California College Students?


Content provided by legal writers

Image Source: Anna Arysheva

More than 1.3 million students are enrolled as part of California’s expansive higher education system, and people come from all over the country and the world to study on the West Coast – which means that many are encountering the state’s rules and regulations for the first time at the start of each academic year.

The good news for Californian consumers is that extensive protections are afforded them by law, so if you’re studying here you will be covered in the face of a number of worst case scenarios. 

Let’s look at a few examples that will be useful to know about before your studies get underway.

Car Ownership

California is vast, and exploring it by road is your best option, which is why many students buy or lease vehicles to use while at university.

Of course we’ve all heard horror stories of cars that look good on the lot, only to suffer a catastrophic breakdown shortly after a purchase is completed, costing owners thousands, or leaving them without transport. That’s why California’s Lemon Law was created – giving you the means to seek a refund, a replacement and even additional cash compensation if you find yourself in this situation.

It’s sensible to work with lemon law attorneys in order to secure the most favorable outcome in this context, because there are a few legal hoops to jump through in leveraging your consumers rights.


There’s a difference between how student accommodation contracts are written in comparison with normal property leases – with on-campus dorms and houses typically placing greater expectations on the tenant in terms of everything from premises use to personal behavior.

That said, the California Civil Code does hold relevance in terms of defending students against undue interventions and poor living conditions. This includes being able to expect a base level of cleanliness and security, as well as the inclusion of utilities like heat, light and mains water.

Likewise the Fair Housing Act comes into play in terms of ensuring that no student can be discriminated against when they apply for accommodation – and of course the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to ensure accessibility is part and parcel of modern campus residential projects.

Individual institutions will have their own rules and regulations for student housing, so be sure to scrutinize these carefully, and compare them against relevant state and federal laws for complete peace of mind.


The right to access textbooks is enshrined in law in California, largely as a reaction to attempts to ban certain teaching materials. This means the state will fund the purchase and provision of a range of books, recognizing the importance of free access to information, and reflecting the diversity that’s innate to California’s history.

Student Loans

In 2019 the Student Borrower Bill of Rights was rolled out as a way to ensure that any student taking out a loan to cover the costs of their education would be less susceptible to the previously murky practices that some lenders used to deceive or exploit them.

A lot of different factors are covered by this piece of legislation, including preventing late fees from being higher than 6% of previously owed repayments, the swift processing of repayments to avoid further penalties, and most importantly the clear and unambiguous availability of all loan information to avoid confusion.

Students that find they’re unhappy with their loan experience can file a complaint with the Department of Financial Projection and Innovation – giving further strength to their consumer rights in California.

Final Thoughts

These consumer protection laws are just a small sample of what’s relevant to people studying in California, so you can be confident that even if something does go awry, you’ve got recourse to remedy any wrong done to you.

This content is provided by an independent source for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Consult an attorney or financial advisor when making decisions. This information is provided by legal writers and does not reflect the views or opinions of The Daily Sundial editorial staff.

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