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January 2013 Archives

GM vehicles recalled due to faulty airbags and suspension bolts

GM has announced a recall of 8,519 Chevrolet Malibu sedans in the United States due rear suspension bolts that may not be tightened properly, which could lead to loss of handling, increasing the risk of crashing.   Consumers may notice noise and minor handling issues, but as the condition progresses sudden changes in vehicle handling could occur.

 Starting February 13th, GM will also be recalling 3,896 Buick Veranos, Chevy Camaros, Cruze and Sonics to address faulty airbags, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA).   The driver side front airbag has a shorting bar that may intermittently contact the airbag terminals, causing the airbags to not deploy, according to the NHTSA.

Kia Faces Class Action Lawsuit Due To Defective Parts

The lawsuit,  alleges that Kia Motors knowingly concealed a defect in the crank sprocket of its 2002-2009 Sorento models, leading to severe over heating, the release of debris, and subsequent loss of steering control, engine failure and the potential for a hazardous accident. Robinson et al v. Kia Motors America Inc. et al., Case No. 13-cv-00006

Bagels Recalled Due To Metal Fragments

The parent company of Bimbo Bakeries, BBU, has voluntarily recalled 8 varieties of Thomas bagels, 4 varieties of Sara Lee bagels, 3 varieties of Publix’s bagels and 1 type of Weight Watchers bagel following reports of bagel packages that contained metal bits and fragments.  All recalled bagels have "best-by" dates of January 27th listed on the bags.

Peter Holland on Debt Buyers and Robo-Signing

Peter A. Holland

of Maryland has written The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem in Small Claims Court: Robo-Signing and Lack of Proof in Debt Buyer Cases, 6 Journal of Business & Technology Law  101 (2011). Here's the abstract: Recent years have seen the rise of a new industry which has clogged the dockets of small claims courts throughout the country. It is known as the "debt buyer" industry. Members of this $100 billion per year industry exist for no reason other than to purchase consumer debt which others have already deemed uncollectable, and then try to succeed in collecting where others have failed. Debt buyers pay pennies on the dollar for this charged off debt, and then seek to collect, through hundreds of thousands of lawsuits, the full face value of the debt. The emergence and vitality of this industry presents several legal, ethical and economic issues which merit exploration, study and scholarly debate.This article focuses on the problem of robo-signing and the lack of proof in debt buyer cases. Although this problem has received limited attention from the media and from regulators, there is a paucity of legal scholarship about debt buyers in general, and this problem in particular. This article demonstrates that robo-signing and fraud are rampant in this industry, and that the debt buyers who pursue these claims often lack proof necessary to show that they own the debt, and often lack proof even that a debt was ever owed in the first place. The fact that this lack of proof has led to consumers being sued twice on the same debt demonstrates the due process concerns which are implicated when courts enter judgments against consumers based on robo-signing and insufficient proof.This article calls on courts to hold plaintiffs in debt buyer cases to the same standards required of other litigants. Courts must require a demonstration of personal knowledge of the matter at issue before any affidavit is accepted, before any person testifies, and before any documents are admitted into evidence.

If you are having issues with debt collectors, please give my office, The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman a call at 877-449-8898 for a free consultation.

Payday Loan Scams

In recent years, reports of consumers receiving harassing calls by scam artists pretending to be payday loan debt collectors attempting to collect on supposedly delinquent payday loans has been on the rise.  These scam artists use various coercion techniques, including abusive language, threats of bodily harm or arrest in an attempt  to bully victims in to sending them money.  Unfortunately, many consumers have been frightened into submission and send money that they do not owe to these fake debt collectors.  According to the most recent report from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), scammers have been using a tactic known as spoofing, or placing a call that appears to be coming from a different number than the one that they are calling from.  According to the  IC3 these criminals have been spoofing police departments’ phone numbers when calling to convince victims of their impending arrest. The scam artist claims there is a warrant issued for the victim's arrest for failure to pay off a loan. And to get law enforcement to actually show up at the victim's home, scammers will place several, harassing phone calls to the police department while spoofing the victim's phone number.

Who called you from 757-961-3544?

We have heard many complaints from consumers stating that they are getting collection calls from this number regarding debts owed by people that they do not know.   When a debt collector finds out that they have the wrong phone number, they are not supposed to continue to harass that innocent consumer, however that is not always what happens.

Are you getting calls from 815-676-6428?

Our consumer protection law firm has been getting several complaints about repetitive calls from this company.   We have a client who has informed them that they are calling the wrong number and she does not know the person they are looking for, but the calls continue. Both the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, (TCPA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) offer consumers protection against this sort of harassment.  If you are being harassed by this company or any other company in violation of State or Federal law, you may be entitled to compensation.  Please give my office, The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman a call at 877-449-8898 for a free consultation. For more in-depth background about our consumer protection legal services please see the NBC News coverage about two of our pending lawsuits below.

Robo-Dial TCPA Case Against Best Buy

On October 17, 2012, in the case Chesbro v. Best Buy Stores, L.P., the Court ruled that “robocalls” made by Best Buy to remind consumers to use their Best Buy “Reward Zone” points are telemarketing calls and are indeed subject to the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Robo-Dial Class Action Lawsuit Against Citibank

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Citibank, N.A. in following allegations that they violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by contacting consumers on their cellular telephones via an automatic telephone dialing system or  using prerecorded voices . (CV 12-05038)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is cracking down on credit reporting and debt collection companies.

According to Richard Cordray, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's director, "Debt collectors and credit reporting agencies have gone unsupervised by the federal government for too long."

Is your car a lemon?

Almost every day we hear of another vehicle recall, but no one really cares unless your car is in the “recall list”.

T-Mobile Faces Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles after allegations that they  violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).   According to lead plaintiff Sayan Aboudi, he received numerous calls from T-Mobile attempting to locate a person by the name of Profit Walker.  Mr. Aboudi informed them that they had the incorrect number, but the harassment persisted for several months.   For more information about this T-Mobile class action lawsuit please follow the link to the NBC Investigative report by Ana Garcia.

Junk Fax Class Action Lawsuit Filed

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Forest Laboratories following allegations that the pharmaceutical company sent junk faxes in  violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). St. Louis Heart Center Inc. v. Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., Case No. 12-cv-02224,

Top Causes of Consumer Bankruptcy

Overspending or spending more than is coming in, is the #1 cause of people falling into Bankruptcy.  Sometimes overspending is unavoidable due to emergencies and job loss, but many times it is due to people spending emotionally rather than rationally and ending up spending more than they have brought in.   Once that happens it is difficult to get caught-up.  Especially, when you tack on interest.   In 2009, the Census Bureau reported that Americans spend $1.33 for every dollar earned.

Settlement Reached In Workers Compensation Lawsuit Against Walmart

An $8 million settlement was granted by a federal judge, ending a workers compensation class action lawsuit brought by injured Walmart employees in Colorado. The plaintiffs alleged that Walmart, it's adjuster Claims Management Inc (CMI) and Concentra Health Services hindered medical providers from making independent judgements on how to treat injured workers.

What Every Employee Should Know About Breaks At Work

Clarification of California's employment laws regarding meal and rest breaks were given in the recent court case "Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court." The court decided that although an employer can not undermine the employees ability to take their breaks they do not have to take measures to ensure that no work is performed by the employees during breaks.

Settlement Reached Regarding Lucky Brand Dungarees Spam Texts

Preliminarily approval of  a $9.9 million class action lawsuit settlement with Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. has been made  following allegations that they sent unsolicited text messages to approximately 216,000 consumers. The case titled Robles v. Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc., accuses the company of sending unsolicited text messages to cellphones offering $25 off Lucky jeans or offering store location services to consumers in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Class Action Filed Against Huffington Post For Spam Texts

A class action lawsuit has been filed against for allegedly bombarding consumers with spam text-message "news alerts" at all hours of the day and night, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Plaintiff Alicia St. Leger alleges that she signed up for the Huffington Post's "Daily Brief" news summary service expecting to receive one text message per day. Instead, she got multiple text messages all day and night, which her wireless carrier charged her for. She claims that even though she repeatedly requested to "unsubscribe"  the Huffington Post continued to send her multiple unwanted text messages. The Huffington Post Text Spam Class Action Lawsuit is brought on behalf of all persons in the U.S. and its territories who received text messages from the Huffington Post after requesting that the text messages stop. The class action seeks an award of actual and/or statutory damages, an injunction barring Huffington Post from sending unauthorized text messages, attorneys' fees, court costs and more. If you are receiving unwanted spam text messages you may be entitled to compensation.  Please give my office, The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman a call today at (877) 449-8898 for a free consultation.  

Man Awarded $65,000 As A Result Of Unwanted Robo-Calls

Dan Harris of Flint, Michigan was awarded $65,000 in a federal lawsuit following allegations that he received 56 unsolicited robo-calls from Alliance Data Systems in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Michigan state law. Harris reportedly received 56 robo-calls from August 18th to October 26, 2010 regarding a debt to World Financial National Bank that was not his.

Domino's Pizza Reaches Settlement Over Spam Robo-Calls

Domino’s Pizza has reached a $9.75 million class action lawsuit settlement after allegations that they sent pre-recorded phone calls (robo-calls) to consumers’ cell phones without consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, (TCPA). Spillman v. Domino’s Pizza LLC and RPM Pizza LLC

Investigating Those Spam Calls And Text Messages

Do you hate getting unsolicited telemarketing calls and text messages as much as I do? Did you know it is against the law for a company to robo-dial your cell phone without your permission?  There is help, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits companies from contacting consumers on their cell phones by using an “automatic telephone dialing system” or using “a prerecorded voice” without their prior consent. Furthermore, those text offers from companies are supposed to have an "opt-out" option and if they do not they may be violating the law.

Bankruptcy and Student Loans

In order to discharge a student loan through bankruptcy, you must show that paying your student loan would impose an “undue hardship” to you.  What is considered to be an undue hardship is decided upon by a bankruptcy judge.

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