Articles Posted in Recent Consumer News

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Will the CFPB protect you or do you need to protect yourself as a consumer?

Will-the-CFPB-protect-you-or-do-you-need-to-protect-yourself-as-a-consumer_-300x300There is a change that has taken place in Washington over the last few years.  [After this video was shot a new director is present but the point is the same that this CFPB is much different than it was before the 2016 election].

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This is a remarkable story from the Tennessean, written by Walter F. Roche, Jr. about contaminated shots given to patients and then the hospital, which gave the shots, is collecting tens of thousands of dollars in fees to treat the problems from the contaminated shots. Read the whole story here.

A decidedly different view was expressed by one of the attorneys representing outbreak victims.

“For the people who got sick from tainted injections at Saint Thomas, Saint Thomas is now charging tens of thousands of dollars to treat them,” said Mark Chalos, a Nashville attorney representing some of the victims.

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My friend Denise Richardson has a good post entitled “Keep Yourself Safe From Debit Card Fraud” that we recommend to you.

She describes the differences in credit cards and debit cards (when there is a theft) and also gives some practical tips to avoid being defrauded on your debit card.

Some good things to learn and I realized I need to tighten up my habits on using my debit card….

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Last month the federal government took a small step towards trying to reign in some of the mortgage servicing abuse that we see on a daily basis. Here is some of the language from the announcement from the OCC:

The eight servicers are Bank of America, Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, PNC, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. The two service providers are Lender Processing Services (LPS) and its subsidiaries DocX, LLC, and LPD Default Solutions, Inc.; and MERSCORP and its wholly owned subsidiary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS).

“These comprehensive enforcement actions, coordinated among the federal banking regulators, require major reforms in mortgage servicing operations,” said acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh. “These reforms will not only fix the problems we found in foreclosure processing, but will also correct failures in governance and the loan modification process and address financial harm to borrowers. Our enforcement actions are intended to fix what is broken, identify and compensate borrowers who suffered financial harm, and ensure a fair and orderly mortgage servicing process going forward.”

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Sheila Smoot is a friend of mine and she has a new website that will have lots of information about her new TV show “Your Side With Sheila Smoot”.

You will find consumer tips about what to do if you are dealing with tornado issues that are affecting so many in Alabama and other southern states. In the articel Sheila and her team include information on “crooks showing up at your door” as well as “the need for renter’s insurance” and “insurance: your steps following a storm”.

You can also find information about various individuals who help consumers (“consumer squad”) including a consumer lawyer who bears a striking resemblance to me… 🙂

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Our friend Denise Richardson of givemebackmycredit.com has posted an article that discusses the huge percentage of student loans that defaulted last year. The national default rate on student loans was about 7% last year, credit cards defaulted at 8.8% and mortgages were defaulting at 9%. That 7% of defaulted student loans equals to roughly $876 billion, which is actually more than what national consumers owe on their credit cards.

The financial experts in the US are least worried about the rise in the student loan default rate. They are of the opinion that the student borrowers just can’t ignore the huge amount of student loan debt level with such a huge amount of educational loans.

Student debt reached $880 billion by the end of the summer in 2010, and that number is estimated to raise $2800 every second. The lack of gainful employment opportunties is also causing recent graduates to default on their student loans. The government is trying to help the situation by trying to increase job opportunities for students.

Here is some advice from financial experts for students who have taken out loans to finance their college education.

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Business Insider.com has posted an article that discusses how Jefferson County, Alabama has ended up owing JP Morgan billions of dollars for “for crappy interest rate swap deals it entered into to ease the debt burden of a flawed sewer project.” The county ended up owing millions in fees alone; JP Morgan settled for $50 million.

The whole thing seems to have started after the sewer system spilled waste into the Cahaba River, which triggered environmentalists to lobby and made the EPA pressure Jefferson County into repairing the sewer system. The county decided to go ahead and repair the whole system. The project was originally slated to cost $250 million, but thanks to politics and corruption the final price tag ended up being about $3 billion. The county went too far into debt and entered into several swap agreements with JP Morgan, hoping to alleviate some of the debt, but that ended up costing more than what was originally owed.

Now that you’ve got the gist of it, here are some choice points from Taibbi’s piece, which is appropriately titled “Looting Main Street”:

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The Indiana Consumer Lawyer Blog has posted an article about a recent development with Carfax. Carfax has put all the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) available on its website to be searched for free.

However, Robert Duff, the author of the blog post, suspects that Carfax might be intentionally making it difficult for consumers to locate the free reports.

…I spent about ten minutes searching for it and could not find it. It wouldn’t surprise me if Carfax is making it intentionally difficult to access so that frustrated consumers will just decide to buy a regular Carfax report on the car. I could be wrong. Maybe the website is set up so that no reports are sold on Cash for Clunker vehicles but instead when a person tries to buy a report on such a car a huge warning pops up. I hope so. But knowing what I know about Carfax, I have my suspicions.

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Associated Press has posted an article about a record decrease in consumer borrowing for the month of July. Economic uncertainty and job losses have “prompted Americans to rein in their debt” by collectively cutting debt by $21.6 billion. Economists expected it to only drop about $4 billion.

The lagging economy is causing consumers to be more careful about the decision to apply for that extra credit card, but banks are also being more particular and are “clamping down on lending.”

Still, a report earlier this year by the company that produces the most widely known credit scores found that companies slashed limits for an estimated 58 million card holders in the 12 months ended in April, even though a high percentage had good credit scores when their limits were cut.

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