Articles Tagged with consumer rights lawyer

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

A internal report from executives at Wells Fargo has determined more than 800,000 people who took out loans for their vehicles were forced into buying unnecessary auto insurance. Some of those people are still paying for the coverage, and the expense has pushed a quarter million of them into delinquency. Additionally, some 25,000 people suffered wrongful vehicle possessions as a result of this practice. debt defense lawyer

The 60-page report was obtained by New York Times reporters, who noted that some of those affected included members of the U.S. military who were on active duty.

As our debt defense lawyers know well, this is not the first time Wells Fargo has landed in hot water for strong-arming customers into coverage or accounts they did not need. Most recently, the company incurred millions of dollars in fines when it was revealed employees generated millions of bank accounts and credit cards for which customers never asked. The fines were imposed on the bank just last year.  Continue reading

Target Corp. recently lost a $4.6 million personal injury lawsuit after a South Carolina woman alleged she was hurt when swatting a hypodermic needle away from her young daughter, who had picked up the dangerous device in the store parking lot. needle1

According to court records, the incident occurred in 2016 at a store in Anderson. The woman testified she was getting out of her car when she spotted her 8-year-old daughter picking up the needle. Instinctively, the mother knocked the needle from her daughter’s grasp. As she did so, the needle stuck her in the right palm. She walked right into the store and reported what had happened to an employee. That worker jotted down in an incident report that the woman “seemed worried.”

She was later transported to a local hospital, where she was tested for both HIV and hepatitis. Although she tested negative for both, she did undergo treatment that involved consuming a powerful medication that would prevent her from contracting HIV. This made her extremely ill, which prompted her husband to take an extensive period of time off work. She has thus far continued to test negative for these diseases.  Continue reading

For at least five years, Wells Fargo was engaged in a practice of secretly opening some 2 million phony credit card and deposit accounts in an effort to put multiple banking products in customers’ hands. That kind of growth strategy was central to the bank’s business, and employees were pressured to meet demanding quotas calling for each customer to have eight accounts with the bank. This prompted employees to cut corners. They started opening up accounts without customers’ Ok or knowledge.moneytower

This practice started at least as far back as 2011, but there is evidence to indicate it may have been going on even back in 2009. As a result, the bank was able to rake in at least $2.6 million in additional fees on accounts customers never wanted to begin with. In many cases, customers didn’t even know they existed, and the fees were simply being deducted from other legitimate accounts. Federal regulators got involved this month, and the bank quickly agreed to settle the case for $185 million. Thousands have been fired (though not the company CEO) and U.S. Attorneys have begun investigations. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) lambasted CEO John Stumpf during a Senate Banking Committee. Although he apologized, Warren told him he was personally responsible, should resign and be criminally investigated.

But the question of why this took so long to uncover goes back to another practice that isn’t unique to Wells Fargo. It’s called an arbitration clause.  Continue reading

The U.S. Senate recently took one major step toward protecting the rights of consumers and the integrity of capitalism in the 21st Century with its passage of the Consumer Review Freedom Act (S. 2044, H.R. 2110). The bill targets so-called “gag clauses” or “non-disparagement agreements,” which some companies use to curb criticism online.enterkey

Although many companies have argued that competitors or others are unfairly using online tools to spread falsehoods or maliciously damaging their reputation without cause, the flip side is that consumers have been penalized thousands of dollars for posting negative – but honest – online reviews. These reviews are widely used by prospective customers to determine whether to buy a service or patronize a location, so there is a lot at stake on both sides.

These dubious non-disparagement clauses are often tucked into the fine print of the purchase agreement, and have been found on even the most seemingly inane purchases, such as cellphone accessories. Others have been found in rental agreements with landlords, wedding contractors or sellers of weight loss products. Continue reading