E22: Consumer Rights Talk: Guest Mike Landis

Mike Landis is the Litigation Director of U.S. Public Interest Research Group (“PIRG”). The job requires Mike to take a macro view of problems consumers face throughout the country and provides a platform to make impact changes through litigation. Although he is only in his mid 30’s, Mike has a lifetime worth of diverse experiences in his background that make him particularly well suited for the job. The resume includes two years with the Peace Corps, state and federal judicial clerkships, and two and a half years at a large law firm in private practice.

We discuss Mike’s background, how his experiences have made him a better lawyer, and ways to expand the reach of PIRG through partnerships with non-profit and private law firms.

E21 Consumer Rights Talk: Guest Jeremy Golden

Jeremy Golden left the cold of Minnesota to study law in the sunshine of California. Originally the plan was to practice intellectual property law, but a job opportunity after law school lead Jeremy to discover the world of consumer law. Fifteen years later, he has a successful law firm outside of San Diego focused on debt defense, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Fair Credit Reporting Act cases. Jeremy and I discuss small firm management, identity theft cases and the growing need for lawyers to take on student loan cases.

E20: Consumer Rights Talk: Guest Michael Fuller

Michael Fuller is no ordinary consumer lawyer. He goes by the name Underdog Lawyer and has earned that persona based on his upbringing. Overcoming hardship early in life, he turned his trajectory around, obtained a law degree and dedicated his career to representing underdogs. Of all the attorneys to appear on the podcast, Michael probably has the strongest media persona. He is not afraid to speak on camera and to use media to gain leverage. We discuss his use of media, how to pick cases and more.

If you enjoy the show, please find us on iTunes, subscribe and leave a review.

E19: Consumer Rights Talk: Guest Josh Cohen

In early March 2019 I interviewed The Student Loan Lawyer, Josh Cohen following the National Consumer Law Center’s annual Fair Debt Collection Practices Act conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. I left the conversation impressed and inspired. Josh has used technology to build a business where he not only counsels borrowers dealing with student debt questions, he also trains attorneys and maintains a litigation practice. The student loan crises is growing rapidly and Josh is a leader in creating practical solutions.

E18: Consumer Rights Talk: Guest Ron Burdge

Ron Burdge is a trailblazer.  Ron started his legal career doing trial work at a small Ohio firm.  Early in his career the partners of his law firm handed Ron an auto fraud case.  The chance circumstance gave rise to a career that saw the rise of lemon laws and consumer rights in the auto industry.  A key to Ron’s success is his love of story telling and a gift for connecting with juries.

In addition to excelling at litigation, Ron has a gift for marketing. As an early adopter of the internet, Ron acquired key domain names including www.ohiolemonlaw.com. He began posting videos on the internet early on and it helped to drive clients and business to his firm.

Aside from influencing the growth of auto fraud litigation, Ron is the founder of the United States Consumer Law Attorney Fee Survey. The survey is hosted at www.attorneyfeestudy.com and gives a detailed assessment of hourly rates billed by attorneys broken down by years of practice, size of firm and geography. The survey is a key tool for consumer rights attorneys that work with fee shifting statutes. Cited in Federal Courts across the country, the survey has been critical to lawyers extending access to justice in an affordable way.

Ron can be reached on twitter @ronburdge

E17: Consumer Rights Talk: Guest Carla Sanchez-Adams

In less than ten years of practice as an attorney, Carla Sanchez-Adams has earned a well-deserved reputation as an attorney focused on creating change in communities impacted by poverty. Carla’s role as a lawyer often walks the line from advocate to social worker. We discuss Carla’s background, the challenges of public service law, and how consumer rights law differs when there are issues of domestic abuse and immigration concerns added to the picture.

E16 Consumer Rights Talk: Guest Ira Rheingold

Consumer Rights Talk host Adam Deutsch interviews Ira Rheingold, the Executive Director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Ira began representing consumers in the greater Washington D.C. area in the early 1980’s and went on to influence an overhaul of lending practices and foreclosure law in Chicago.  Thereafter, he became the Executive Director of NACA, the National Association of Consumer Advocates.  NACA is a trade organization of more than 1,500 attorneys committed to the representation of consumers victimized by fraudulent, abusive and predatory business practices.  In our discussion, Ira talks about how his time as a litigator influenced the leadership he now strives to provide, we hear about ongoing projects and goals for NACA and discuss a vision of consumer rights for the future.

E15 Consumer Rights Talk Relaunches in March 2019

In March 2019 the Consumer Rights Talk is relaunching with a new format. Host Adam Deutsch will interview a different consumer rights attorney in each episode. The goal is to publish a new interview twice a month. Each interview will offer valuable insight and practice tips for other consumer attorneys, and will also shed light on rights consumer may not know they have and what they can do to protect themselves. We’ll be talking debt collection, credit repair, auto fraud and anything else that fits under the umbrella of consumer rights.

Please follow us on iTunes and leave a review so more people can find the show.

E 13: A Common Credit Reporting Problem: The Mixed File

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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E12: Student Loan Crisis

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.

Consumer Rights Talk E11: 5 Tips for Handling Debt Collectors

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.

Consumer Rights Talk E10: 14 Day Rule for Considering Loss Mitigation Offers

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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.

Consumer Rights Talk E9: Common Frauds in Auto Lending

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.

Consumer Rights Talk E8: CFPB update

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

Consumer Rights Talk E7: The end of HAMP and using RESPA to level the playing field

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.

Consumer Rights Talk E6: Privatization of federal IRS collections presents a risk to all residents of the U.S.A.

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


Consumer Rights Talk E5: More than 3/4 of people facing collections do not retain an attorney, don't be one of them!

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

Consumer Rights Talk E4: Disparities in home ownership and interest rates by racial lines.

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:

Consumer Rights Talk E3: Medical billing errors

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.