Know Your Rights: Store must have sufficient quantity to meet 'reasonable demand.'

By Richard Alderman
Dec. 22, 2012 at 6:22 a.m.

Does a store have to honor the price in its advertisement? When I arrived, I was told they had sold out. Can I force them to give me a rain check?

Under the law, an advertisement must either disclose that only a limited number of the item are available, or the store must have enough to meet "reasonable demand." If the store does either of these things, there is no requirement that any business must give you a "rain check." I suggest you read the ad carefully to see if the quantity was limited. If the quantity was not limited, speak with a manager if you feel the store did not have a reasonable supply of the item.

Can my daughter and son-in-law refuse to let me see my grandchild? Don't grandparents have visitation rights?

Under Texas law, a grandparent has very limited visitation rights. The courts and legislature believe that parents should control who the child spends time with and, if the parents do not want the grandparent to visit, they have the right to say so. In some cases, when both parents are not living together, however, a grandparent does have the legal right to go to court to ask for visitation. The court may order it if it is in the best interest of the child. I suggest you speak with a family law attorney who can review your situation in detail.

I just found out the apartment unit next to mine rents for substantially less than I pay. It is exactly the same apartment. Is this legal?

A landlord, just like any other business, can base the price on what the market will bear. As demand for apartments increases and supply stays the same, it is not unusual for rent to increase. As long as the landlord does not illegally discriminate, for example, by charging different rent based on things like, race, age, sex, or religion, he is free to charge every tenant a different rate.

I am being harassed by a debt collector for a credit card bill. I know I owe the money, and I am trying to pay, but they want more than I can afford. The debt collector told me that if we do not work something out by next week, he will sue. He said if he wins, I would lose my house. What can I do to stop this? I don't know what my family will do if we lose our house.

As you are aware, everyone should pay his or her bills. But Texas law protects those people who cannot pay by making some property "exempt" from creditors. This means that even if a creditor sues you and wins, you can keep "exempt" property. Under Texas law, your urban homestead, which is your house and up to 10 acres of land, is "exempt" and may not be taken. You may be sued for the credit card debt, but you will not lose your home. In fact, the debt collector's threats to take your home violate both state and federal debt collection laws. I suggest you let the debtor collector know you know your legal rights and see if you can get him to agree to a payment plan. To learn more about what might happen if you are sued, look at the debt collection section on my website, If the debt collector continues to make these threats, speak with a consumer law attorney.

I pay child support. If I remarry, can my support payments be increased based on my spouse's income?

Child support is not increased based on a spouse's income. Child support is based on your income. Your spouse's income is not utilized to determine the amount of your support payments.

Want a handy guide to your legal rights? Pick up a copy of the eighth edition of my book, "Know Your Rights!," available in books stores, online, or from my website,

Richard Alderman, a consumer advocate popularly known as "the People's Lawyer," is a professor at the University of Houston Law School in Houston. His column appears weekly in the Victoria Advocate. Write to him at UH Law Center, Houston, Texas 77204-6391. He also maintains a Web page at



Powered By AffectDigitalMedia