Consumer Protection Archives

Protecting your credit history

Many people living in Pennsylvania and around the country are not aware of how their credit score and history can impact their day-to-day lives. Credit card companies, bank lenders, insurance companies, employers and landlords regularly check credit scores before deciding to work with an applicant.

SEC wants to curb illegal debt collection activities

Pennsylvania residents who are struggling with overwhelming debt will likely know that debt collectors can be extremely persistent and aggressive. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places strict rules on lenders and prohibits unfair, deceptive or abusive collection practices, but finance companies often skirt these rules and seek to insulate themselves from the consequences by engaging the services of third parties to pursue unpaid debts on their behalf. This was the conclusion reached by the Securities and Exchange Commission after reviewing consumer complaints submitted about bill collectors.

A default may trigger repossession

Many Pennsylvania residents may be surprised to learn that repossession of property is entirely legal under certain conditions. Even if the debtor faces financial difficulties, the creditor can assert its rights to payment. This could lead to a vehicle or another piece of property that hasn't been paid for being lawfully taken.

Judge says expert testimony not needed in lemon law case

Car buyers in Pennsylvania may pursue remedies under the state's lemon law if their vehicle develops a problem during the first year of ownership or 12,000 miles that dealers are unable to repair. The issue must affect the vehicle's value or operation, and dealers are given three opportunities to remedy the problem. Automobile manufacturers often mount vigorous defenses in these cases and may deny that a problem exists when a consumer's claims are not backed up by expert testimony. However, an appeals judge in Massachusetts recently said that a stack of repair bills was evidence enough.

Suing used car dealerships

People in Pennsylvania who purchased a used vehicle may have legal recourse if the vehicle is not in the condition the dealership said it was. However, there are certain factors that can affect what steps the buyers can take to remedy the situation, whom they can sue and whether pursuing legal action is the wisest option.

Obtaining service after a dealer closes

It is not uncommon for vehicle owners in Pennsylvania to spend time at a dealership for routine service or repairs. However, taking a vehicle for service got much harder for Volvo owners in Bakersfield, California. The company decided to shut down the dealership thereafter the owners of the franchise refused to spend millions of dollars on a new facility. When the dealership where a person buys a car goes out of business, that individual has several options.

What to do before buying a used car

It typically costs thousands of dollars to buy a used car from a dealer or private party in Pennsylvania. Therefore, it is important for a buyer to know how to evaluate a vehicle in an effort to protect his or her investment. Ideally, an individual will research a vehicle to learn more about any open recalls, how much it's worth and how much it could cost to maintain.

Rolling back an odometer is against the law

When buying a vehicle in Pennsylvania or any other state, it is important to verify that the figure on the odometer is correct. This is because some may engage in a process called clocking, which means that they fraudulently lower the number on the odometer. Individuals may be able to do a VIN check to determine if their desired vehicle has been tampered with.

When a dealer sells a recalled used car

People may not know that some Pennsylvania car dealers might not inform them if there is a recall for a used vehicle they are selling. This was the case for one man whose Ford F-150 had a faulty cruise control switch. This resulted in the truck catching on fire while sitting in his driveway, igniting the garage door and his house.

Car repairs and the legal rights of vehicle owners

Even the most diligent car owner in Pennsylvania is likely to need repair work done at one time or another. It's not always easy for vehicle owners to know for sure if shortcuts were taken or if there were oversights with the work, at least not until something goes unexpectedly wrong once the vehicle is back in operation. Being more informed can help vehicle owners be aware of potential issues with car repairs.

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