Articles Tagged with consumer rights lawyer

A recent letter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency slams Wells Fargo & Co., and warns it may be taking federal enforcement action against the financial institution for a host of wrongs in its mortgage and auto insurance operations. consumer rights attorney

The Wall Street Journal reports the federal regulator, in a letter submitted last month, accused the bank of willfully causing its customers harm. The bank has been given the opportunity to respond. The financial giant is alleged to have failed repeatedly to take corrective action on known problems in a broad range of its consumer services – beyond just mortgage lending and auto insurance.

The bank refused to comment on the letter publicly, telling the WSJ it is continuing with its commitment to fixing existing problems, working closely with its risk management teams to rebuild trust from both consumers and employees. The OCC turned down the opportunity to comment further on the pending regulatory action. Continue reading

Researchers from The Ohio State University, Rutgers University, the Chicago Fed and Georgetown University have concluded banks are attempting to influence voters’ opinion of the Dodd-Frank Act, hoping to discredit the truth: That the financial reform measure has been great for consumers. It’s also opined the banks are seeking to influence Congressional action on a bill to reform the financial measure. foreclosure lawyer

Specifically, the study authors posit in their working paper, “The Politics of Foreclosure,” that banks responsible for servicing delinquent mortgages held off on proceeding with foreclosures in electoral districts where members of the House Financial Services Committee are poised for re-election. The researchers discovered that although there was no difference in the rates of mortgage delinquency between non-committee districts and committee districts, the committee districts had far lower rates of foreclosures.

Basically, the banks were turning down the volume on the foreclosure complaints committee members would receive. Because there would not be as many foreclosures in those districts, there would be far fewer complaints from constituents regarding the financial hardship of the mortgage crisis fallout. In turn, the Congressional leaders would be more lenient during the debate on the bill, giving the banks an edge.  Continue reading

The sweeping financial reforms instituted by the previous White House administration face serious threats as Wall Street and the politicians backed by them set their sights on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The creation of the CFPB in 2010 is intended to serve as a watchdog over large banks and corporations that threaten consumer rights – much like what we saw leading up to the housing market collapse that drove us into a recession.consumer rights lawyer

The first significant victory, of course, happened in late October, when Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate necessary to block implementation of a new landmark rule by the CFPB to ban arbitration provisions by banks and credit card firms. The rule ensured wronged consumers would still have access to the courts to settle disputes via class action litigation, which evens the playing field when consumers are wronged by large corporations and financial institutions. Now, though, the arbitration provisions will continue, and class action lawsuits will grind to a halt. The CFPB’s director put it simply, “Wall Street won and ordinary people lost.”

Now, that director is stepping down, and there is ongoing talk of shutting down the CFPB, with powerful bank and business representatives lamenting the agency’s “unchecked” power and “lack of accountability.” The truth of the matter is that although the agency has only been in existence for about 5.5 years, enforcement actions against everyone from small-time debt collectors to the world’s biggest banking giants has resulted in the return of nearly $12 billion to some 30 million consumers. Further, it’s public database of consumer complaints against lenders has resulted in a host of new rules on everything from prepaid cards to student loans to mortgages. The agency also has been able to obtain some type of solution to some 160,000 consumer complaints out of 800,000. 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

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

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

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

Wells Fargo recently paid substantial fines for millions of dollars after allegedly deceiving customers by opening up accounts they never requested so the bank could collect fees. Despite copious evidence of theft, no criminal charges were ever filed.consumer rights

Now, the bank is accused of arbitrarily closing customer accounts that individuals really needed, leaving them without access to their money. Here again, there is no discussion of criminal charges.

The bank reportedly revealed in a regulatory disclosure that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is exploring claims of financial misconduct pertaining to its depositors and borrowers. Among those are complaints from customers who say they endured financial hardship over the last several years after the bank suddenly closed or froze their accounts – a move they were not expecting. Continue reading