CONSUMER PROTECTION LITIGATION
Please use this page as a resource to review generalized information and benefit from our pointers to aide you in your potential credit reporting, background and tenant screening reporting, abusive debt collection, and harassing telephone call matters.
Representative cases include lawsuits filed against credit reporting agencies and furnishers for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, abusive debt collection agents and their attorneys for violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, predatory mortgage lenders for violations of the Truth in Lending Act, Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, title insurance companies and escrow agents for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act real estate brokers, agents and appraisers for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive business practices, and automobile dealerships for fraud and unfair and deceptive business practices.
REQUESTING YOUR FREE CONSUMER REPORT
Free Annual Credit Reports (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action)
You may download and print free copies of your credit report from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union through the FTC website once every 12 months. We highly recommend downloading and printing all three bureau reports.
When completing the questionnaire of security questions through the FTC web page, you may be requested to provide verifying identity information from Equifax, Experian and/or Trans Union about accounts that do not belong to you and, as a result, you may be denied the ability to obtain your report on-line.
If you cannot access your free report complete the attached form and mail it as soon as possible. Mail form (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0093-annual-report-request-form.pdf) to Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
or request by telephone to (877) 322-8228
Mengedoth Law Potential Clients/Clients: By requesting the reports at the same time, you can determine whether any of your files have errors. And because false and inaccurate reporting among the bureaus and the furnishers of the information is often like “whack a mole” with false and inaccurate items popping up and disappearing from time to time, a snapshot in time of all three is preferable.
Your free credit report does not include a credit score. We do not recommend if inaccurate information appears on your free credit report that you also purchase a score directly from the credit reporting agencies and scoring companies
CAUTION ABOUT “FREE” CREDIT REPORTS: A number of non-FTC sites will only give you a free report if you buy other products or services. The FTC site is the only one mandated by federal law and is the preferred method of avoiding scams for allegedly “free” alternate sites that require you also sign up for goods and services or enroll you automatically in programs or scoring products that automatically renew and charge you.
CAUTION ABOUT CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS: Be very wary of credit repair organizations that purport to be law firms offering credit repair services, charge up front fees, and promise to submit disputes of false or inaccurate information on your behalf. These businesses are themselves regulated under federal laws, and some are known for never having an actual lawyer ever review your file but instead assign a “paralegal” to submit disputes on your behalf.
REQUESTING YOUR FREE BACKGROUND SCREENING REPORT
In situations where a background screening report was prepared in connection with your potential employment or employment, you may be entitled to a copy of the report directly with your potential employer or employer. A number of methods and legal rights are triggered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for those who furnish these reports as well as those using them. Contact Mengedoth Law PLLC to learn your legal rights.
Consumers Should Know:
Before a background screening report is obtained, a potential or existing employer must:
· Tell the applicant or employee that it might use information in a consumer report for decisions related to their employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format. The notice cannot be in an employment application.
· Get written permission from the applicant or employee.
· Certify compliance to the company from which you are getting the applicant or employee's information. The employer or potential employer must certify that it:
o notified the applicant or employee and got their permission to get a consumer report;
o complied with all of the FCRA requirements; and
o will not discriminate against the applicant or employee or otherwise misuse the information, as provided by any applicable federal or state equal opportunity laws or regulations.
Before a potential employer or employer rejects a job application, reassigns or terminates an employee, denies a promotion, or take any other adverse employment action based on information in a consumer report, it must give the applicant or employee:
· a notice that includes a copy of the consumer report you relied on to make your decision; and
Consumers are entitled to advance notice in order to be provided the opportunity to review the report and tell the potential employer or employer if it is correct.
If a potential employer or employer takes an adverse action based on information in a consumer report, it must give the applicant or employee a notice of that fact – orally, in writing, or electronically.
An adverse action notice tells people about their rights to see information being reported about them and to correct inaccurate information. The notice must include:
· the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company that supplied the report;
· a statement that the company that supplied the report did not make the decision to take the unfavorable action and can't give specific reasons for it; and
· a notice of the person's right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information the consumer reporting company furnished, and to get an additional free report from the company if the person asks for it within 60 days.
ABUSIVE DEBT COLLECTION
Abusive debt collection practices are governed by both state and federal laws. A consumer who does not owe a debt should not be “dunned” with collection calls or letters.
Even when a consumer does owe a debt, state and federal law also prohibit debt collectors from engaging in harassing, deceptive or unfair methods to seek to collect a debt from a consumer. Abusive debt collection also involves an array of state statutory and common law claims. These often include violations of Article 9 of the UCC for wrongful repossession, and common law torts such as breach of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty.
Mengedoth Law PLLC clients have brought claims in state and federal courts in Arizona and other states against debt collectors and their lawyers for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and companion state law claims involving wrongful repossession, violations of Article 9 of the UCC and breach of privacy laws.
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt, including:
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts.
(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
(6) The placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.
FALSE OR MISLEADING REPRESENTATION
A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt, including:
(1) The false representation or implication that the debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with the United States or any State, including the use of any badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof.
(2) The false representation of—
(A) the character, amount, or legal status of any debt; or
(B) any services rendered or compensation which may be lawfully received by any debt collector for the collection of a debt.
(3) The false representation or implication that any individual is an attorney or that any communication is from an attorney.
(4) The representation or implication that nonpayment of any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action.
(5) The threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken.
(6) The false representation or implication that a sale, referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt shall cause the consumer to—
(A) lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt; or
(B) become subject to any practice prohibited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
(7) The false representation or implication that the consumer committed any crime or other conduct in order to disgrace the consumer.
(8) Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.
(9) The use or distribution of any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court, official, or agency of the United States or any State, or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval.
(10) The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.
(11) The failure to disclose in the initial written communication with the consumer and, in addition, if the initial communication with the consumer is oral, in that initial oral communication, that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose, and the failure to disclose in subsequent communications that the communication is from a debt collector, except that this paragraph shall not apply to a formal pleading made in connection with a legal action.
(12) The false representation or implication that accounts have been turned over to innocent purchasers for value.
(13) The false representation or implication that documents are legal process.
(14) The use of any business, company, or organization name other than the true name of the debt collector’s business, company, or organization.
(15) The false representation or implication that documents are not legal process forms or do not require action by the consumer.
(16) The false representation or implication that a debt collector operates or is employed by a consumer reporting agency.
UNFAIR COLLECTION PRACTICES
A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt, including:
(1) The collection of any amount (including any interest, fee, charge, or expense incidental to the principal obligation) unless such amount is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law.
(2) The acceptance by a debt collector from any person of a check or other payment instrument postdated by more than five days unless such person is notified in writing of the debt collector’s intent to deposit such check or instrument not more than ten nor less than three business days prior to such deposit.
(3) The solicitation by a debt collector of any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument for the purpose of threatening or instituting criminal prosecution.
(4) Depositing or threatening to deposit any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument prior to the date on such check or instrument.
(5) Causing charges to be made to any person for communications by concealment of the true purpose of the communication. Such charges include, but are not limited to, collect telephone calls and telegram fees.
(6) Taking or threatening to take any nonjudicial action to effect dispossession or disablement of property if—
(A) there is no present right to possession of the property claimed as collateral through an enforceable security interest;
(B) there is no present intention to take possession of the property; or
(C) the property is exempt by law from such dispossession or disablement.
(7) Communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card.
(8) Using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.
UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES
We represent consumers in individual and class action cases against financial institutions engaged in predatory lending, lender-liability actions, buyers against real estate agents, title agents and insurance companies, new and used car buyers, debt collectors in cases of abusive debt collection practices, and consumers against other businesses for fraud and unfair and deceptive business practices.
Mengedoth Law PLLC clients have brought claims against credit card companies for imposing deceptive and illegal fees and charges, against false and deceptive advertising, breach of warranties, and automobile finance companies for violating federal and state consumer disclosure obligations.
Consumers and businesses have rights not to receive junk faxes, texts, robocalls or collection calls on their cell phones. If you did not give out your number, you may have had your rights violated.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects individuals and businesses from receiving unsolicited telemarketing attempts. The TCPA has prohibitions advertisers from using automatic calling systems, recorded voice messages (robocalls) and fax messages to contact people, as well as prohibitions on sending text messages to cell phones. If you have been receiving various communications from random advertisers, Mengedoth Law can help you file a lawsuit for violations of the TCPA.
In matters involving violations of the TCPA, individuals are entitled to recover as much as $500 to $1,500 for each violation.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) https://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/policy/TCPA-Rules.pdf