Student loan debt collections are big business for a number of collections agencies, which often bank on little resistance from defendant debtors. Default judgments can be obtained when debtors decide it’s not worth hiring an attorney and confronting the allegations in court. But as our student loan debt defense attorneys in Miami know, many of these cases can be successfully challenged. student loan debt attorney

Student loan debts have ballooned over the last 10 years, becoming the No. 1 source of household debt, aside from mortgages. Alongside this has coming a swell of defaults, which has meant collection companies wrestle tens of millions of dollars in settlements, default judgments, wage garnishments and other methods of compelled payments.

The New York Times recently explained how one of the largest student loan debt collection agencies, Transworld Systems, has risen to great prominence, filing more than 38,000 lawsuits against former students in the course of just three years – and that was on behalf of just one client: National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts. However, just as we saw in the foreclosure crisis a few years ago, many of these cases are inherently flawed. Much of the documentation the company uses to prove their case for a right to collection is based on very little verification. That’s according to both legal filings by a federal regulator, as well as an in-depth analysis by the The Times.  Continue reading

The Department of Justice is reporting an additional multi-million dollar fine against banking giant Wells Fargo for the illegal seizure of motor vehicles from active military service members.debt defense lawyer

Federal law mandates that any bank seeking to repossess the vehicle of an active duty service member must first get a court order. Wells Fargo didn’t in hundreds of cases – and it’s not the first time.

Last September, CNN Money reported the banking institution would pay $24 million in order to settle allegations that it had unlawfully repossessed the vehicles of nearly 415 soldiers, absent a court order, in direct violation of federal statute. These repossessions took place between 2008 and 2015, with the initial complaint coming from an Army National Guardsman who alleged his car was repossessed as he prepared to deploy to Afghanistan. The vehicle was later auctioned and the bank attempted to collect $10,000 from the serviceman’s family. Continue reading

The Federal Communication Commission reports U.S. consumers are on the receiving end of approximately 2.4 billion robocalls every month (as of last year). That’s an increase from the average 1.5 billion roboscam calls that were made monthly in 2015. So it’s unsurprising that robocalls are the No. 1 consumer complaint. These were driven in large part by internet-powered telephone systems that have allowed scammers to make massive volumes of calls cheaply and efficiently from any point on earth. consumer rights lawyer

Even though the FCC and other agencies have protections in place to help consumers avoid these unwanted (and sometimes dangerous) calls, the number of those that are received are still extremely high. These calls are more than just annoying. The reality is many people are scammed out of their hard-earned savings, retirement accounts or checking accounts. For example, just one scheme in which robocallers were pretending to be agents with the Internal Revenue Service garnered scammers more than $54 million in a single year, according to the FCC. If there was no financial incentive, people wouldn’t make these calls. Clearly, they are worth the scammers’ time.

As The New York Times recently reported, there may be several actions consumers can take to protect themselves. These ranged from not answering the phone to seeking government help.  Continue reading

Phone scams are on the rise, with the U.S. Department of Justice reporting new investigations almost weekly. Some call and pose as debt collections agencies, seeking repayment of non-existent deaths. Others pose as charity workers. These individuals can be hard to spot – and extremely difficult to catch. The DOJ made major headlines last year with its indictment last year of more than 60 people in a multi-million dollar Indian call center scam that targeted U.S. victims. Callers often threatened victims with arrest if they didn’t pay. consumer protection

Now, some consumers are fighting back. Take The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s recent account of a man who began to get so fed up with scammers who continually called claiming to be with the Canadian Revenue Agency that he decided to take matters into his own hands. He began calling them back. Every second he can troll the trolls, he explained, was time they couldn’t spend trolling someone else.

The scammers set up a voicemail, claiming to be the government agency and demanding a call back to resolve a serious matter of criminal activity. Now, if one were to call back the actual government agency, they would be pushed through a series of bureaucratic menus before you ever get to a real person. However, when you call back the phony government agency, you’ll be put right through to an “agent.” Once the Canadian man discovered this, he started calling them every spare chance he got – on his lunch break, while waiting in traffic or if he found himself bored for a few minutes. He gives them phony names and erroneous numbers. If they hang up, he calls them right back, pretending the call was disconnected. Sometimes, the scammers demand he stop “pranking” them – but he doesn’t. He figures every minute they’re on the phone with him is less time they’re swindling someone else.  Continue reading

Tens of thousands of student loan lawsuits are filed every year by creditors who allege default on collectively billions of dollars in private student loan debt. student loan attorney

Although we are teetering on the edge of a student loan debt crisis, the reality is many of these lawsuits are riddled with factual and legal errors. Some borrowers who have defaulted may assume the outcome of the case against them is a foregone conclusion – they will lose. However, those who are fighting back against student loan lawsuits are discovering there are a number of effective legal strategies that may help them fight off a large judgment against them.

Miami student loan debt attorneys are closely familiar with the defenses outlined recently by The New York Times, which detailed the top ways these lawsuits fail (and work out in your favor).  Continue reading

A rule created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to shield consumer rights in the form of class action lawsuits against financial institutions has been voted against by the U.S. Senate – with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking ballot. consumer rights lawyer

In a White House Press release, it was argued the majority (half plus Pence) were “standing up for everyday consumers and community banks,” rather than the trial lawyers, whom the White House said stood to gain the most from the CFPB’s policy, which it characterized as “ineffective” and “uninformed.”

The reality of the situation is that wronged consumers will lose a great deal if this rule is scrapped. The rule, which pertains to forced arbitration clauses in consumer transactions, was carefully studied by the CFPB for five years before it was formally passed. The arbitration clauses are forced onto consumers in the fine print by companies seeking a way to shield themselves from litigation. The clauses force consumers with complaints to handle them through arbitration, rather than in a court of law. Rather than allowing consumers the opportunity to band together and fight as one in class action litigation in court, it will require consumers to fight these matters as individuals before a mediator in arbitration.  Continue reading

There are many arguments for why one should never represent themselves in court – even if he or she is a licensed attorney. It’s referred to as “pro se” litigation, and it’s a legal term that means “on one’s behalf.” It’s generally not required for civil litigants (or even criminal defendants) to hire an attorney to represent them. That’s because most people don’t have the knowledge it takes to adequately represent themselves, and even if they do, they lack the experience. Beyond that, most people are too close to their own case to be objective. foreclosure attorney

When you’re dealing with something as serious as the foreclosure of your home or debt defense against a large credit card company, it’s generally unwise to go it alone. That said, it is your right. But understand that you will likely face a legal system that will be harsh and unforgiving – and maybe even unfair – to pro se litigants.

Take, for instance, the recent resignation of long-time federal judge Richard Posner. Posner was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by President Ronald Reagan, and has served in that capacity ever since. He abruptly resigned in September, and when asked why, he told The New York Times he, “Awoke from a slumber of 35 years” in which he came to the realization that people without attorneys are mistreated by the legal system. He wanted to act on it. However, the 11 other judges in the circuit refused his idea for how to address it.  Continue reading

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