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

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