Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, is responsible to collect detailed data from American consumers, including driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers and more. Earlier this month, a massive data breach was revealed that may impact as many as 143 million Americans. As many as 209,000 people have had their credit card information, and personal identifying information was exposed on some 182,000 consumers involved in disputes on their credit report. consumer rights lawyer

Despite this, Republican lawmakers continue their push for deregulation of credit agencies, as well as the strength of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The hack is a major deal not only for the fact that Equifax is one of just three national credit reporting companies responsible to rate and track the financial history of consumers. It’s also notable that Equifax won’t be contacting everyone who was affected – only those who dispute records or credit card information was accessed. The company has recommended consumers sign up for identity theft protection, which it is offering free for one year. Doing so, however, may limit your right to file a consumer rights lawsuit against the firm later, instead forcing you into arbitration, unless you file notice with the company within 30 days that you choose to opt out. Continue reading

Ten years after the financial crisis that leveled the U.S. housing market, the federal government is taking civil action against the previous head of subprime trading at Deutsche Bank. The complaint accuses the former bank executive Paul Mangione of tricking investors, leading them to believe some $1 billion in securitizations were sound, when in fact they were not and ended up leaving investors to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.foreclosure lawyer

The complaint alleges Mangione was a key player in the bank’s illegal and fraudulent effort to scheme banks and other investors with two separate mortgage-backed securitizations. These were issued back in 2007, just a year prior to the market crash. These securitizations had a combined value of $1.4 billion.

Prosecutors allege Magione mislead investors about the quality of the loans being offered, even knowing that key characteristics were being misrepresented. The acting assistant to the U.S. attorney general alleges Magione was aware his office was making misrepresentations about key characteristics about compliance with lending standards and the ability of borrowers to repay the debt. Continue reading

A recent report by The New York Times details how billions of dollars in student loan debts have the potential to be wiped clean because of lapses in paperwork tracking – mirroring what happened during the 2008 housing crisis. debt defense attorneys

At the center of this controversy is an organization called National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts. This is a group that purchased student loan debts from investors after they had been purchased from banks.

However, now they can’t locate the paperwork that proves who owns the loans. Absent that proof, the trust is unable to prove it is allowed to collect that debt, meaning courts have little choice but to dismiss the case – and the alleged outstanding debt.  Continue reading

An eerily familiar scenario is unfolding among those who find themselves swimming in unmanageable debt. Tens of thousands took out loans, but haven’t been able to keep up. And yet, those debts could be wiped clean because important paperwork is missing.debt defense lawyer

But this isn’t the housing crisis of 2008. It’s the student loan crisis of 2017.

The New York Times reports these troubled loans, valued at an estimated $5 billion, are the subject of a drawn-out legal dispute between students and creditors who have aggressively gone dogged those who have fallen behind on their payments. Debt defense attorneys recognize that prevailing in these cases requires a litigator experienced in going toe-to-toe with large banks and institutions. No student is going to be able to count on an automatic win in court, but there are strategies that could prove helpful. Continue reading

Mark one victory in the fight to hold accountable violators of consumer rights under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. A federal judge in Illinois agreed to certify a class-action lawsuit against a telemarketing firm accused of repeatedly calling people without their authorization – even after the company had been asked to stop.consumer rights

The case, Toney v. Quality Resources Inc., will proceed as a class action after the U.S. District judge ruled named plaintiff’s arguments were persuasive. The calls in question were reportedly automated, and began only after the individual’s in question provided their phone number when making a a purchase of children’s slippers from a third-party online vendor. That contact information, it now seems, was sold to the telemarketing firm, which then used it to target for telephone solicitations. This had allegedly been going on since 2009.

Named plaintiff, who filed her claim originally in 2013, claimed defendant telemarketing firm called her cell phone time after time after she ordered the slippers. Her phone number was on the National Do Not Call Registry. After the telemarketer purchased the information from the slipper company, the telemarketer called those individuals under the guise of confirming customer’s child slipper orders. In fact, the real reason for the call was to convince those consumers to purchase online coupons from a discount retail site, which had contracted with the telemarketer. That discount retail operator was later added to the consumer rights lawsuit, and later settled for $2.15 million. Continue reading

Embattled banking giant Wells Fargo is in even deeper trouble after finding evidence that an additional 1.4 million customer accounts fraudulently opened in customer’s names by employees under pressure to meet unrealistic quotas. If verified, it would bring the total number of unauthorized accounts to 3.5 million since this scandal was first unveiled last year. The revelation marks a 70 percent increase in the scope of the issue compared to the bank’s initial estimate. consumer rights lawyer

While this issue isn’t necessarily political, it does raise questions about politicians still pressing for the weakening of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Dodd-Frank Act. When the nation’s third-largest bank and biggest provider of mortgages in the U.S. has been dubbed “rogue” by financial analysts, it doesn’t bode well for loosening protections on consumer rights and accountability.

The need for such oversight is even further underscored amid criticism that the bank was snail-like in its acknowledgement of its misdeeds.  Continue reading

Amid news of Wells Fargo’s latest scandal (if you’re keeping track, it involved uncovering evidence employees opened an additional 1.4 million unauthorized customer accounts, adding to the 2.1 million we already knew about), analysts are not holding back with predictions about the bank’s future. consumer rights

Chances are slim-to-none any of those sitting in corporate high rises are going to actually be held to account in a criminal court of law (hasn’t happened to any meaningful degree since the Reagan-era’s savings-and-loan crisis). In fact, none of those folks paid anything above six figures are likely to lose any pay at all over this. Sure, the bank will pay their multi-million dollar fines and some refunds, but these amounts – impressive as they sound – don’t go far enough in affecting the bank’s bottom line.

The one exception could be – maybe – if consumers have finally lost confidence in the bank. That appears to be beginning. The Street reported on analyst from Berenberg says investors should now sell Wells Fargo stock, rather than hold it, citing the bank’s loss of its competitive advantage. The bank’s stock has dropped about 7 percent this year, compared to its biggest rivals, which all reported solid gains of between 5 and 14 percent.  Continue reading

If you’re old enough to remember the 1990s, you may recall the Cohen Brother’s 1996 indie classic, “Fargo.” In one of its iconic scenes involves a car sales tactic wherein a hapless car salesman and a customer haggle over the $500 add-on benefit of “TruCoat.” The customer says he doesn’t want it, and specifically told the salesman he didn’t want it. The salesman insists it’s a worthwhile benefit, and anyway, the factory has already installed – and there is nothing he can do to remove it. He finally offers to take $100 off the price of the TruCoat, which the customer didn’t want in the first place. consumer rights

Wells Fargo customers may well be finding themselves in a very similar scenario, amid a rash of recent scandals rocking the nation’s third-largest bank (and the largest provider of mortgages in the U.S.).

One of the most recent of those cases involves the bank’s teaming up with a home warranty company, which in turn forced its product on customers who weren’t expecting it. Several dozen consumers who filed online complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, alleged they had no idea they were being billed for an optional service they never ordered. When they contacted Wells Fargo to get the bank to get the charge removed, they found a great deal of difficulty, seemingly echoing the “Fargo” car salesman’s refrain, “Yeah, but that TruCoat…”  Continue reading

An investigation into Wells Fargo’s unauthorized account scandal is now apparently worse than initially believed. The financial institution says it has uncovered approximately 3.5 million potentially fraudulent bank accounts created by employees under intense sales pressure without consumers’ knowledge. That figure involves the 2.1 million accounts that were previously uncovered between 2011 and 2015, plus more that were revealed in an in-depth probe that stretched back to 2009 through 2016.consumer rights

This is the latest development in a scandal for the bank that started a year ago – one of many the bank has been facing down in recent years, marring consumer trust in its practices.

Of those accounts discovered, the CEO now says nearly 200,000 customers were hit with fees from these accounts that were unnecessary. That’s up from the previous estimate of 130,000. On top of that, approximately 530,000 customers were unknowingly signed up for an online bill pay. Continue reading

Spotting a single cockroach scurrying across the kitchen floor when you flip the light on is disconcerting enough. What’s even worse is the knowledge there are almost certainly more you can’t see, lurking in dark crevices, part of a systemic problem (of your own creation or otherwise). The same is true of the consumer rights violations uncovered at Wells Fargo. consumer rights

As billionaire investor Warren Buffet recently commented to CNBC, Wells Fargo’s recent woes are indicative not just of issues within that institution, but are likely reflective of more widespread problems within then banking industry as a whole. When this issues are spotlighted – as is currently being done with a third-party review of the bank’s most recent sales scandal – we’re likely to be seeing more of the same. Even the bank’s CEO in an internal message warned workers to brace for the potential onslaught of negative headlines as the independent review nears a close.

Buffet commented that anytime an organization with thousands of employees is heavily scrutinized, issues will be uncovered. This is especially true when there have already been notable systemic problems. Such issues highlight the culture of a place, which can set the tone for other shady practices.  Continue reading