Consumer Protection Archives

Debt collectors may violate the law

Many Philadelphia consumers struggle to make ends meet. If they are unable to pay credit card bills or loans on time, they may face calls and letters from debt collectors. Collection agencies can be very aggressive in seeking payment. In 2017 alone, 70 million people across the United States had some kind of contact with a debt collector, reported the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the National Consumer Law Center. Around one-third of all American adults with credit of any kind also had some kind of debt in collection.

What consumers can do about auto dealer fraud

In Pennsylvania and across the United States, victims of auto dealer fraud and misrepresentation can take action to protect their legal rights. Consumers can take three different steps: contacting the dealer in writing; filing a legal complaint with the appropriate state agency or district attorney's office; and seeking legal advice from a lawyer. The first thing to do when faced with car dealer fraud is to ask the dealer to correct the situation. Contacting the dealer before filing a legal claim is mandatory in many states.

How to avoid buying flood-damaged vehicles

Each year, thousands of cars are damaged by hurricanes and floods across the U.S. While many of these vehicles are totaled and destroyed after their owners receive their insurance settlement, a significant portion are resold at used car lots and auto auctions in Pennsylvania and across the country. Worse, some sellers attempt to hide a vehicle's flood history from potential buyers.

HB-26 would extend lemon law protections to motorcycles

The Pennsylvania Automobile Lemon Law provides consumers with legal remedies if they purchase unsafe or defective new cars, but the legislation does not apply to new motorcycles. Rep. Pam Snyder thinks that this situation needs to be addressed, and she has co-sponsored a bill that would give motorcyclists in Pennsylvania the same legal protections that drivers enjoy.

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.

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