Articles Posted in Recent Consumer News

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We have repeatedly sued AFNI, a national collection agency, for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. AFNI’s response has always been to deny its wrongful conduct and to say any “mistakes” were isolated incidents. This week the Attorney General of Minnesota had to file suit against AFNI.

Here is a quote from the press release:

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson today filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court against AFNI, Inc., an Illinois debt collection agency, for attempting to collect debts from Minnesota citizens who stated they did not actually owe the debts and for failing to substantiate debt that consumers stated they did not owe.

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The USA Today recently ran a story on how banks are cutting credit card limits which has the effect of increasing the percentage of credit used as compared to the total available credit and this lowers the FICO score. Here is an example from the article:

Let’s say a cardholder has a credit limit of $10,000 and a balance on the card of $4,000. The card company worries that large balance may increase the prospects for default, so it lowers the credit line to $5,000.

But in doing that, it completely changes what is known as the credit utilization rate, raising it from 40% to 80%. That is then factored into the calculation of one’s so-called FICO credit score, which measures creditworthiness, according to Craig Watts, a spokesman for FICO-creator Fair Isaac Corp.

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Denise Richardson has an excellent summary of the recent Trans Union settlement and what that means for consumers (particularly for preventing Identity Theft) in her post here. We recommend studying her post and then making your own decision as to what is best for you.

If you live in Alabama and have questions about Identity Theft, feel free to contact us for a free consultation on your options.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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It always amazes us in both consumer cases as well as personal injury cases how companies scream about outrageous damage claims and how the entire fabric of the country will come unraveled if a bank is made to pay for false credit reporting or a trucking company is forced to pay for killing someone. These same companies, however, will claim outrageous amounts of damages when they sue. Here is a small section of an article about Discover Card claiming Six Billion in damages…. No doubt Discover Card’s executives would tell you they have every right and responsibility to claim the most in damages and to not be forced into arbitration. But now if you sue Discover Card, a different matter no doubt….Ironic, isn’t it?

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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MarketWatch.com has a fascinating article about how loan rates are affected by more than just credit scores. Certainly credit scores are important – and they come from what is in our credit reports – but this article points out other factors that affect our rates. Best of success in arming yourself with knowledge and then finding the best rates.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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We recently posted on a FTC Report on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and now there is a well written post on the California Debt Blog about the most recent FTC report – please read it in its entirety here. There are good collectors and bad ones. When you run into a bad one, contact a consumer attorney for a free consultation as to your rights.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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In our Birmingham Injury Blog we referenced an article in Forbes about Jere Beasley and his firm down in Montgomery. Beasley’s firm focuses on personal injury but they have also done excellent work in the consumer law area for consumers in this and other states. We thought you might like to read this post and the Forbes article.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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Credit Slips is a wonderful blog written by professors about consumer issues. The most recent post is by Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor. The title is The New Politics of Bankruptcy.

We recommend you read this article as it discusses the beginnings of a backlash against those in Congress who voted for the change in the bankruptcy law that has harmed so many consumers across the country. Here is a brief excerpt:

Recently Albert Winn, a long-time Congressman from Maryland, was challenged in the primary for his seat. His opponent, Donna Edwards, campaigned on several issues, but among the most prominent was her opponent’s vote for the 2005 bankruptcy legislation. He had ignored the needs of his constituents, she argued, and favored the financial interests whose executives (not coincidentally) gave his campaign financial support. Ms. Edwards defeated that incumbent in a landslide (60%-32%).

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Most of us have probably heard or seen the commercials from LifeLock – the owner gives out his social security number without fear because he is protected against identity theft. For the curious, his social security number can be found on the website. Rush Limbaugh advertises the service. Apparently LifeLock now has about 700,000 customers who pay about $10 per month. So what’s the problem? For one, Experian has now sued LifeLock.

According to Andrew Johnson of The Arizona Republic, Experian is claiming that “LifeLock is violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by signing up its customers for fraud alerts and removing their names from direct mailing lists.”

Here are several more interesting quotes from this good story:

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Most of us are familiar with credit scores and how they determine, to some extent, the type of loan we may qualify for but yesterday we read about a new type of credit scoring – it will measure your reliability to pay medical bills.

This interesting (and somewhat disturbing) product is discussed in several places and we won’t repeat what has already been said – instead we recommend you check out the following posts about this.

http://redtape.msnbc.com/2008/01/the-doctor-wi-1.html#posts

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