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November 2012 Archives

What is the Lemon Law?

Lemon laws cover the sale of faulty motor vehicles, also known as “lemons” and make it easier for consumers to get refunds or replacements of faulty cars and trucks. Lemon laws specify the definition of a “lemon” and state what must be done to rectify the situation.    Often the law will require that the manufacturer pay off the outstanding loan balance or replace the car or other product with a comparable model. There is a provision that allows the manufacturer an "offset" for your use of the car. California Lemon Law requires that the manufacturer of a car or other product pay for the consumer's hourly attorneys fees, as well.

Buried in Student Loan Debt?

A greater-than-ever percentage of Americans are going to college these days, but unfortunately for them, tuition has risen sharply as well and shows no sign of stabilizing. The rising costs of attending college are far outpacing inflation, according to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics “The average cost of college tuition continues to rise at a rate of 4.5 % at private universities and 8.3 % at public colleges.”

Consumer Product Safety Commission And You

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.  Duties of the CPSC are:

False Advertising

California has laws imposing penalties on businesses that try to deceive consumers or other companies through unfair practices such as false claims regarding products or services. False advertising laws are designed to protect the consumers, such as yourself.

Employee Rights

Many people are confused about what their rights are in the workplace.  You may have rights you didn’t even know about, or think you have rights that don’t exist.

Is your credit report information accurate?

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act,  the three nationwide reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are required to give you one free copy of your credit report every year.  Your credit report will contain information about where you live, your payment history, bankruptcy filings,  and judgements against you.

Debt Collector Uses Social Media to Harass Debtor

Social media websites are a great tool for entertainment and to keep in touch with family and friends, but always be on alert when you are using them. Increasingly, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are becoming a tools of harassment by debt collectors. Social media information has also been used in other legal proceedings, such as divorce, personal injury and criminal cases.

How To Spot A Debt Relief Scam

Many consumers who have found themselves swimming in debt have begun seeking help from companies presenting themselves as "debt relief" providers.  And getting and getting scammed in the end.

Different types of Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits involve large groups of people suffering similar damages from the same entity.  There are basically four types of lawsuits....

  • Consumer Class Action Lawsuits are brought when several consumers complain about being injured by a company's illegal practices. Examples might include illegal charges on phone bills, illegal late payment fees, false advertising, deceptive business practices,  or failure to comply with other consumer protection laws.

  • Securities Class Action Lawsuits are usually brought on behalf of a group of investors who have been injured as a result of a company's improper conduct, such as misstating earnings, also referred to as "materially false and misleading statements", concealing or misrepresenting risks, or otherwise engaging in activity detrimental to the  investors.

  • Product Liability Class Action Lawsuits happen when a defective product,   In product liability class action lawsuits, many people are similarly harmed by the product. An example of this would be the class action lawsuit filed against Skechers USA,  Inc. on behalf of 37 plaintiffs across the country that suffered serious injuries as a result of wearing the Skechers Shape-ups and Tone-ups shoes.

  •  Employment Class Action Lawsuits Employment class action lawsuits are typically brought on behalf of employees of a large company for claims ranging from unpaid overtime and employee misclassification to systemic workplace age, race or sexual discrimination.  An example is the DSW wage-and-hour class action lawsuit filed in 2011 by DSW sales associate and merchandise manager Olga Aguirre, who accused the shoe retailer of various wage and labor code violations, including allegations that the company prevented its nearly 3000 nonexempt hourly employees mandated meal and rest breaks.  The class action lawsuit also accused DSW of failing to provide itemized wage statements or reasonable seating accommodations for workers, and of using an inappropriate method of final compensation to withhold wages.

If you have experienced these types of violations please give my office, The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, call at (877) 449-8898.

Class Action Lawsuits Explained...

In a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs are grouped together in one lawsuit against the defendant.  The one lawsuit is filed on behalf of everyone in the class, that class being a group of people who share similar damages. To be part of a class action, first, you  must show that you experience with the defendant is similar to that of other plaintiffs in the class. Secondly, you must show that the evidence against the defendants is similar for everyone in the class and that individual lawsuits against the company would not be an efficient use of the court's time, nor would it be cost-effective. Lastly, the individual compensation from the class action must be small enough that it is not worth the time or money for each plaintiff to hire an individual attorney on their own.

Are debt collectors allowed to sue you?

One common tactic debt collectors employ is to threaten to sue the debtor unless the debt is paid. Most people in the U.S. are terrified of a lawsuit, and they will do almost anything to make that possibility go away. However, it may be illegal for the debt collector to threaten you with a lawsuit. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, bill collectors cannot lie to you. If they do, they can be sued and may have to pay the debtor’s attorney’s fees as well as a fine.

BMW Reaches Settlement in Privacy Violations Class Action

BMW has reached a settlement in a privacy violation class action against them.  The lawsuit alleged that BMW recorded BMW Assist calls without first disclosing that the customer's call may be monitored or recorded.   "Section 632 of the California Penal Code provides that all parties to the a telephone conversation must be informed of or consent to the recording of the conversation."

How to avoid telemarketing scams

Unfortunately, many con-artists posing as legitimate companies or charities use the phone to bilk consumers out of millions of dollars every year with rogue telemarketing schemes.

Racial Discrimination At Work

Treating an employee unfairly based on their race, color, or ethnicity in regards to hiring, termination, promotions, benefits, compensation, and the work environment is considered racial Discrimination. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) enforces the federal laws that prohibit racial discrimination in the work place.

Wrongful Termination Law

There are many labor laws protecting you from being wrongfully terminated.  Below is a compilation of a few...

Telemarketing Scams

Anyone can be victimized by telemarketing scams.   It doesn't matter your age, race, sex or educational level, scam artists have tailored their pitches to fit every type of person and scenario.

What is the California Lemon Law

The  California Lemon Law protects consumers who have purchased or leased a vehicle with major unfixable flaws. According to the California's Department of Consumer Affairs:

How the TCPA protects you from unwanted telemarketing calls.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers from being harassed by aggressive telemarketing tactics. Such as, sending unsolicited faxes, text messages and robo-dial calls to a consumer's cell phone with artificial and recorded voice messages. The TCPA is designed to protect telephone consumers from the intrusion of unwanted solicitations and the additional expenses which can sometimes be associated with such solicitations. Unwanted text messages and calls to cell phones can add up to hundreds of dollars added to consumers cell phone bills every year. The same can be said for the hundreds of extra dollars in ink and paper caused by unwanted faxes. Under the TCPA, advertisers who make telemarketing calls, faxes, or texts must identify themselves and the company they work for. The identification information must also include contact information for the business on behalf of whom the call is made. Also, telemarketers are not allowed call to your home before 8:00am or after 9:00pm. If a consumer specifically requests that he or she be removed from the call list, this request must be honored. Consumers who wish to not receive telemarketing calls should register their home cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call List, a list which is distributed to telemarketers. Business lines can be included on this list, but telemarketing calls to businesses are not considered strictly illegal, except in certain circumstances. This is not applicable to companies that you have given prior permission to contact you, a tax-exempt non-profit organization, or from a person or organization with which you have an established business relationship. An "established business relationship" exists if you have made an inquiry, application, purchase or transaction regarding products or services offered by the person or organization. If you are being harassed by telemarketers that are in violation of the TCPA or the National Do Not Call List policies you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact my office today, The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman at (877) 449-8898.

What is the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

Although the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) applies to every state, not all states provide its residents additional protection from collectors like California. People living in California have an additional layer of consumer protection known as the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Meaning, Californians are protected under two laws, both the federal law (FDCPA) and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Act. The most important difference between the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Act is that the Rosenthal Act provides consumers protection from first party creditors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Filing Bankruptcy

1. If I file a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 bankruptcy will I ever get credit again?  Yes, it is possible.  However, we caution jumping right back into debt to avoid ending up in the same situation.   Many people start building their credit back up with secured credit cards.  Also, time will help,  the Bankruptcy becomes less significant the further in the past the you filed.

Can a creditor sending me text messages constantly all day long?

If the creditor has hired a collection agency and the collection agency (not the creditor) is sending you excessive text messages, that is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (FDCPA).  If the text messages are from the creditor (not a hired collection agency), the federal FDCPA does not apply.  However, you may still be able to get protection from the California Rosenthal Act.  "Unreasonable" and "Excessive" are not defined in the law.  If you sue, it will be up to the jury to make that determination.  You should send a certified letter to the creditor,  telling them not to contact you.  If the texts messages continue, you have a case for violation of the FDCPA, and you can collect monetary compensation as well as attorney fees.

What To Do If Debt Collectors Are harassing You

If you are receiving calls from debt collectors, whether they are your debts or not,  (sometimes debt collectors have the wrong contact information, but do not believe you when you tell them they have the wrong person) you should make a habit of doing the following:

  • DO NOT THROW ANYTHING AWAY.  Keep all letters,  including the envelopes sent to you.  Having all of the written communications could make a difference in winning your case!

  • TAKE NOTES!  If you speak to a debt collector, ask their name, and note the date and time of the call.  When the call ends, write down as much of the conversation as you can


  • KEEP A LOG. Keep the phone number log in your caller ID.  This is an easy way to make a record of the time of day you are receiving calls and the quantity of calls that you are receiving.

For more information about dealing with rogue debt collectors please call my office at (877) 449-8898 and receive a free consultation.

Stopping Foreclosure By Filing Bankruptcy

Losing your home can be a very traumatic experience and often times a homeowner ends up in the predicament through no fault of their own.  In this tough economy many hardworking people have found themselves either under-employed or unemployed for years.  They try to take whatever jobs they can just to get by, but often times these jobs are not enough to sustain a household.  Medical issues are another problem that cause financial hardships with families.  The combination of these problems can cause havoc even on financially responsible people and when there is no way out Bankruptcy can be a lifesaver.

Bankruptcy and Debt Collectors

A creditor is never allowed to harass you and the law provides many remedies for consumers who are being harassed by rogue debt collectors. If you are in bankruptcy, the laws governing creditor communication are even tougher.

The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process

The following is a step-by-step explanation of Chapter 7 bankruptcy process after meeting with me:

  1. A bankruptcy petition and schedule will be prepared

  2. You must complete a short online credit counseling class

  3. Filing of the bankruptcy petition and schedules

  4. We will attend the 341(a) meeting of the creditors (30 – 45 days after filing bankruptcy), together

  5. Await bankruptcy discharge order from court

This entire process usually takes about 4 to 6 months.

Debt Collectors and Social Media...

The  Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (FDCPA)  does not specifically prohibit debt collectors from using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to locate  and contact you about your debt.

Is It Legal For Debt Collectors To Add Interest, Fees Or Penalties To My Original Debt Amount?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (FDCPA) prohibits collectors from collecting any amount unless the agreement you signed when you took out the loan states that they can add fees, penalties, etc. for such amounts to be legal.

A Debt Collector Deposited A Post-Dated Check Before I Was Ready. What Now?

If a debt collector is harassing you to make a payment, you may decide to give them a post-dated check to get rid of them because you are expecting to get the money soon.  Often times, the debt collector will promise not to deposit it right-away in the hopes that you will send them a check.

When You've Had Enough, Contact Us For A Free Initial Consultation

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