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Consumer law is an umbrella term used to describe a broad collection of laws that protect individuals in their dealings with businesses. Our law firm assists people with a wide variety of consumer law issues, including:
- Contractor and home repair issues
- Credit reporting issues
- Lemon Law violations
- Predatory mortgages
- Tenant’s rights
- Truth in Lending Act violations
- Unfair collection practices
- Unfair and deceptive business practices
- Unwanted telemarketing calls, junk faxes, and text messages
Consumers, borrowers, and debtors are welcome to send collection letters and documents to our firm for evaluation. Please contact us by phone, email or fax, to discuss any other consumer law concerns. Below are summaries of a few common consumer issues and several potential issues we are investigating.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (Junk Fax Law)
To violate the TCPA, a fax must be unsolicited and must advertise the commercial availability or quality of property, goods, or services. Therefore, a fax inviting recipients to attend a political fundraiser is not a covered by the TCPA. A computer equipped with a fax modem and printer or scanner would appear to qualify as capable of sending a violating fax message, thereby making the prohibition applicable to emails as well as faxes.
The TCPA allows private actions by persons subjected to the prohibited conduct to recover up to $500 per violation, or $1,500 if it was willful or knowing.
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit related to a junk fax is four years. The most important piece of evidence in a junk fax or email case is the fax or email itself. Keep the document, together with any log of incoming faxes generated by your fax machine. If you call the “remove” or “contact” number, keep notes with the date and time of the conversation to assist in identifying the sender.
Text messages to cell phones at the recipient's cost may also violate the TCPA.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Debts included in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) include money owed for the purchase of a home, an automobile for general transportation, medical care, and non-business charge accounts. Debt collectors may include anyone, other than the creditor, who regularly collects debts for others, including collection agencies, attorneys who regularly collect debts or foreclose mortgages, or companies that regularly acquire debts after they are allegedly in default.
In particular, debt collectors are not allowed to contact you at inconvenient times or in inconvenient places. Debt collectors are not allowed to contact you at work if they should know that your employer does not permit it. They must not contact you at all if you are represented by an attorney and the debt collector knows you have an attorney. Collectors must not verbally or in any other way harass or abuse you threatening harm or using obscene language. They also cannot tell your employer, neighbor, credit references, or friends that you owe a debt. In addition, debt collectors may not contact you without identifying themselves, or accept a postdated check and post it prior to its date.
Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
Violations of the Truth in Lending Act on the part of lenders may be a defense to a mortgage foreclosure. If your lender is found to be in violation, you may be able to void the mortgage and apply 100% of your payments to the principal balance. You may also be able to recover damages.
Some problems, include the following:
- Failure of mortgage companies to post payments on the date of arrival
- Failure of mortgage companies to respond to correspondence
- Improper rate adjustments on adjustable rate mortgages
- Predatory refinancing practices
- Sudden changes in terms of a mortgage in the last minutes before closing
Fair Credit Reporting Act
Any type of inaccurate information on your credit report, whether resulting from identity theft, commingling of files, inaccurate reports by creditors, retention of obsolete information, etc. may be a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Potential Cases Under Investigation
We may be able to help if, in the process of the sale of real estate that you purchased, the seller's lender charged a fee for recording the release of the mortgage, shown on the payoff statement. (The title company also charges a fee for recording the release of the mortgage, shown on the HUD-1. One of the fees is fictitious, probably that charged by the lender.)
Check your receipts – if you made a purchase with your credit or debit card and the merchant provided you with a receipt which contained more than last five digits of your account number OR your expiration date, you may be able to recover between $100 – $1,000. Please e-mail or fax a copy of any receipt you believe is in violation.
Have you purchased a radar detector from a company that promises to pay any speeding tickets you receive? You may be able to recover the cost of the detector and/or punitive damages.
Contact us here if you believe you have a TCPA claim.
If you are a beneficiary of a trust, guardianship or estate where a bank is a trustee or other fiduciary, you may have been charged excessive fees and expenses, particularly if the bank invested your money in its own stocks or mutual funds.
Have you overdrawn your bank account and been charged multiple overdraft fees? Did the bank apply the withdrawals out of order? For example, you had a balance of $100 and made debits for $30, $50 and $110. Instead of debiting the first two transactions first and charging one overdraft fee when the third transaction hits, the bank debited the largest transaction first, causing your account to go into the negative and incur three overdraft charges.
If you would like to speak to us about handling a Consumer Claim for you, please contact us at 731-424-0461 or by Email.