On July 19, 2018 Adam Deutsch, Esq. will be joined by another consumer attorney Eric Kornblum, Esq., for a free seminar in downtown Springfield, MA addressing common credit and debt issues facing consumers. This podcast features a short preview explaining five key steps you can take to improve your credit score.
The Federal Government estimates that 25% of all credit reports contain an error. These errors can negatively impact your ability to buy a home, car, finance college, or obtain employment. The errors can also cause the cost of borrowing money to go up. A common error is the mixed file, where someone else’s information appears on your credit file. In this episode of the Consumer Rights Talk, Adam Deutsch discusses three common mixed file causes, how to fix the problem and how to proactively spot such problems.
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Sadly, I'm predicting that 2017 is the year the long predicted student loan crisis becomes real. The facts do not look good. Defaults are up 14% since the end of 2015 and it turns out half of college grads made less money in 2016 than graduates made in 2000. Of course, despite stagnant and declining wages, the cost of tuition keeps going up. This is how a crises emerges. This week Adam Deutsch discusses how we got here and what can be done. Listen for more information.
Recently my 93 year old Grandmother began receiving demand letters from a debt collection company that was hired by AT&T to collect money. The problem, no money was owed! Although I've had clients in this position before, none were family and it absolutely made the situation more personal. This got me thinking about five basic tips that anyone can follow when being threatened by debt collectors.
Mortgage servicing companies are obligated to provide homeowners with a minimum of 14 days to consider all loss mitigation offers, including loan modifications. This rule is set forth in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act 12 C.F.R. 1024.41. If you are not provided 14 days to consider the offer, the servicing company is violating federal law. Listen to learn more information about the risks and what to do.
According to the latest report by the Federal Bank of New York analyzing the fourth quarter of 2016, consumer borrowing is trending up. New auto borrowing increased at a faster pace than credit card and mortgage borrowing. The money spigot is opening so fast that subprime lending is also growing rapidly.
In America, we need and love our cars, but we don't always love the process of buying them. Listen to this episode of the Consumer Rights Talk to learn more about common frauds to look out for and what you can do about it.
This week's episode of the Consumer Rights Talk addresses the Feb 8 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which highlights trends in consumer complaints and gives a closer look at mortgage related grievances. Adam discusses three of the most common complaints filed with the CFPB and provides some guidance on how to deal with these issues as a consumer. The full CFPB report can be found here: Monthly Complaint Report
There are roughly 90 million homeowners in the Untied States of America. As a country we commonly encourage home-ownership as vehicle for developing savings and community stability. For most, a home will be the largest single asset they own in a lifetime. Consider the following- the standard mortgage contract used to fund the purchase of a home is 30 years, a very long time. The mortgage lending market works in mysterious ways where the consumer has very few rights after the loan is taken out. As a consumer you have no control over who owns or services your loan after origination, and because of this your rights can actually change with each subsequent owner. There is a way to take power back and level the playing field by using the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act more commonly known as RESPA. Listen and learn more.
There is a new sheriff in town and the Presidency of Donald J. Trump is projected to bring sweeping deregulation and privatization of government. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and presumptive Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have openly advocated to privatize the collection of unpaid federal income taxes. There are major risk to taxpayers in deregulation of this task. Specifically, if collection of tax debt is privatized, the debt collectors may be immune from liability under the Fair Debt Collection Practices. This means there could be a rise in collection abuses and consumers will have little to no protections.
You can read the interview with Senator Chuck Grassley (member of senate judiciary and finance committees as well as the joint committee on taxation) in which he advocates to privatize tax collection here: http://globegazette.com/forestcitysummit/grassley-q-a-collecting-taxes-owed/article_027f02f2-ca09-52c1-9de7-e5ee4e33f0f8.html
There is a major disparity in courts. Approximately 95% of all parties filing lawsuits have an attorney, while figures show that fewer than 25% of people being sued in foreclosure or for the collection of a medical, auto, or credit card debt retain an attorney. Collectors know they are likely not going to face someone who is represented and they count on it. Retaining an attorney is more affordable than people think, and it could be free. Adam Deutsch, Esq. of Northeast Law Group explains that collectors frequently add fees they are not entitled to collect. When this happens, the person being sued can get the collection case dismissed and file a lawsuit of their own in which the collector has to pay damages and attorney fees.
The study discussed can be found here: http://www.ncsc.org/~/media/Files/PDF/Research/CivilJusticeReport-2015.ashx
In January 2017 the Pew Research Center released a new report analyzing disparity in home ownership and interest rates on first mortgage loans when viewed among racial lines. Sadly, the numbers show a clear difference in both ownership rates and the cost of financing charged to different racial groups in America. The cause could have more to do with pure economics than racial discrimination but the fact that the disparity exists means that America remains divided. The possibility of racial discrimination in lending remains a problem and consumers can take action if they have been victimized based on race. Listen to find out more about the numbers and what they mean.
Read the report:
Physicians are making more errors in billing practices as they struggle to adapt to changes in the insurance industry. Patients are suffering as a result. Episode 3 discusses a scenario where a patient is subjected to inappropriate debt collection efforts caused by the physician's billing error. Listen to find out what happens if a physician seeks to collect money that is supposed to be billed to the insurance company rather than the patient. You may be surprised to find out that the patient can get the harassment to stop, be compensated for the harassment and have all of their attorney fees and court costs paid for by the physician and debt collectors.
On December 27 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its monthly report on complaint statistics. The report offers a special focus on debt collection. Looking at the numbers it appears that complaints are trending upward. Compared to the same time period in 2015, complaints about student loan servicing errors are up more than 100%, complaints about credit card collections and servicing are up 36%, and complaints about debt collection are up 10%. Either more people are filing complaints with the CFPB because the government is doing a better job of educating the public about reporting options, or complaints are up because debt collectors, financial institutions and the like are making more errors and injuring more consumers. Either way, the numbers are troubling. Complaints in Massachusetts and New Jersey are both up compared to a year ago.
By far the most complained of financial institutions are Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase.
The complete CFPB report can be read here: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/201612_cfpb_MonthlyComplaintReport.pdf
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