NCLC ISSUES LATEST TOP 10 LIST
The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has issued its latest listing of “10 Widespread Consumer Law Violations Leading To Significant Client Recoveries.” Among the violations cited are the following:
1. Debt collectors frequently commit FDCPA Miller violations, where they do not provide the precise dollar amount of the debt balance being sought, but use fudge words like “plus attorney fees” or “plus accrued interest” or seek different amounts in different collection letters.
2. Mortgage servicers violate RESPA when they ignore requests to correct account errors or to provide account information. Liability attaches even when servicers fail to respond to letters consumers send on their own before consulting an attorney.
3. A creditor supplying account information to a credit reporting agency is liable under the FCRA if, after the consumer challenges the information’s accuracy, the creditor does not conduct a good-faith reinvestigation, before verifying the information to the reporting agency.
4. Under HOEPA, consumers can recover statutory damages and attorney fees or even rescind the transaction whenever a high rate mortgage lender imposes prepayment penalties, fails to make disclosures prior to the closing or makes loans without regard to consumers’ ability to repay them.
5. Millions of used cars are sold every year without disclosing a history of a major collision, odometer rollback, intractable mechanical problem or undesirable prior use.
6. Many bounce protection loans accompanying bank accounts or debit cards violate Truth in Lending. Not to mention payday loans and auto title pawns.
7. Collection lawyers violate the FDCPA by sending out collection letters without first reviewing the file or, even worse, letting collection firms use their letterhead for collection letters.
8. An amazing number of car sales still involve “spot delivery” or “yo-yo” sales (sales contingent on financing going through), despite extensive litigation showing that these sales often violate federal and state law.
9. Many mortgage lenders and servicers are placing consumer payments in “suspense accounts” and then improperly assessing late charges and extra interest charges.
10. An expanding web of federal and state regulation of telemarketing phone calls, faxes and spam is providing consumers with effective and practical remedies to combat these intrusive and often fraudulent techniques.
While NCLC’s list is by no means exhaustive of “hot topics” or areas of current litigation or scrutiny, it is interesting to see what concerns NCLC and related organization like the National Association of Consumer Advocates are encouraging consumer’s counsel to consider.