Consumer Law

Debt Collection

In order to collect as much as they can, more and more debt collectors are guilty of illegal practices in collecting money. Some of them use unfair treatment and threaten borrowers for non paying off debt. There are some collectors that ask borrowers to pay for things that they don’t actually owe; a common form of fraud in the debt collection business. Some even try to illegally get funds from the bank account of the debtor without their consent. This type of activity clearly violates the provisions of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which governs the fair collection of debts. The Fair Debt Collection Act also prohibits the use of abusive language and any act of moral degradation in the pursuit of collecting money. Any type of abusive debt collection can be the basis for legal recourse with the help of legal counsel.

Repossessions

Repossession is a legal means of acquiring property if it follows due diligence and correct procedures. The creditors and repossession companies are required to follow consumer protection laws that govern repossession. As an owner who has lost property due to a repossession, creditors should not require you to pay further amount to fully compensate the value of borrowed money. If the collateral has lesser value than the principal amount, unless stated otherwise in your agreement, the repossession should end your obligation to pay. Should an additional obligation to pay arise after repossession, it is imperative to make a response and defend your rights. At this stage, it is best to consult a lawyer will can guide you through the process. Never hesitate to ask for legal assistance. If the court rules in your favor, then the opposing party will have to pay the legal fees.

Foreclosures

Foreclosure is hitting an alarming rate; the number of foreclosed properties is increasing every day. Foreclosure usually starts when the lender sends you a notice for default payment of mortgage. The notice of foreclosure usually indicates the amount owed to the lender and the corresponding timeline to pay such balance. Failure to comply with the notice results to foreclosure procedure, followed by a sheriff’s sale. During the sale, you can still redeem ownership of the property if you are the highest bidder. Otherwise, there is nothing else to do but move out and find another place to live in.

But before the sheriff’s sale, there are some rights that owners can exercise. One is to stop the lender from foreclosure proceedings and just pay whatever is due for payment. If this doesn’t work, redeem the house by placing the highest bid during the sheriff’s sale. If all else fail, leave the house and live somewhere else.  During the foreclosure proceedings, beware of other possible things that may arise. One common scenario is the involvement of someone pretending to help you out. Avoid the so called equity stripping, wherein the supposed help will turn into ripping the entire mortgage payments paid for the property.

Arbitration Agreements

Arbitration agreement binds two people or parties who agree to waive their right to trial in case contractual dispute arise in the future. If a dispute does arise, they will go to a neutral decision maker whose decision that cannot be appealed. Arbitrations are usually less complex than a lawsuit trial. It usually includes pleading requirements, evidences, fees, scheduling and privacy issues. Though arbitration is usually cheaper, there are still some people who prefer to have the proceedings before a court. And even if an arbitration clause was written into a contract, it may still be avoided in certain cases such as if enforcement of the law would break an existing one.

Deception and Fraud

There are many varieties of fraud cases. The act of deceiving someone which results in causing some type of harm to that person constitutes fraud. Anyone who is liable for fraud must be proven to be at fault based on the underlying evidences and situation for them to be convicted.

There are different kinds or levels of fraud. A statement of fact or opinion may lead to fraudulent act if the fact has been misunderstood by the listener. Another kind of fraud is the falsification of the truth. A hyped statement about a product being advertised is puffery. Nature of fraud may also vary depending on the knowledge or consent of the victim that fraudulent information is being served. In all of these cases of fraud, the common underlying factor is the misrepresentation of information. So, if the other party is aware that he is being swindled, and yet, continues to act on the misrepresentation, then the case may be compromised. If you believe that you have been deceived, then get a legal counsel and file the necessary claims and fees for actual damages and fees resulting from fraud.

Auto Fraud/Lemon Law

The Magnuson-Moss_Act (“Lemon law”) gives protection to buyers of new vehicles. Sellers are obliged to sell cars of the standard and quality that they represent. If they fail to do so, or if the car does not live up to that representation, the purchaser has a number of recourses they can take. For example, if a material defect with the car cannot be repaired after at least four repair attempts, then the Lemon Law requires that the seller either refund your money or replace the defective automobile. Additionally, if within the first two years, the car is out for more than 30 business days for repairs or if the defect cause the car to be unsafe to use, then the Lemon Law applies.

The Lemon law was written to protect purchases of new vehicles. If your case concerns a used vehicle, other laws may apply. There are statues in State and Federal law that relate specifically to odomoter rollback, salvage reporting for both new and used cars for example. Check with a qualified attorney to learn more.

Warranties

Warranty law protects the consumer for purchases based on the seller’s willingness to repair defects. The warranty usually covers the necessary repair or replacement expenses where the seller shoulders the expenses.  A warranty may be express or implied. Express warranties are either or written or oral promises made by the seller regarding the product’s level of quality and the seller’s commitment to address any problems that the buyer might experience in the course of using the product.

Implied warranties may be in the form of a warranty of fitness or merchantability. The implied warranty of fitness arises when a seller who is familiar with a buyer’s needs assures the buyer the product will suit those needs. The implied warranty of merchantability arises when the seller promises that the product sold will work for it’s general purpose. In cases when the seller refuses to honor these warranties, the buyer has the right to go to court and seek legal recourse.

Predatory Lending

Foreclosure is becoming the normal ending when the homeowner fails to fulfill their payment obligations. In more and more cases, predatory lenders take advantage of unsophisticated homeowners by offering loans during the foreclosure process that they know the homeowner cannot afford. When the homeowner invariably defaults on the new loan, the creditor will immediately prepare for foreclosure procedure and bag the equity of the homeowner. This is entirely unethical and unjust. Beware of predatory lending and keep yourself safe from predatory lenders by learning what to look out for when you are approached by someone promising you a way out of a difficult financial situation. Be aware of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and consult a qualified lawyer knowledgeable in these practices if you think you are a victim of predatory lending.

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