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Consumer Protection

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Video - Protecting Yourself Against Consumer Fraud

 Consumer fraud occurs whenever you make a purchase without having all of the required knowledge for that purchase. This can occur because you weren’t given the exact cost in the contract or not given the proper information about the warranty, but any time that a seller or manufacturer withholds information from you, it is considered consumer fraud.

In this video, our attorney, Howard D. Silver, explains what consumer fraud is and the best ways to avoid falling victim to it:

 

For help with a consumer fraud case, please contact our experienced attorney by calling (855) 341-2611. Mr. Silver proudly serves clients in Los Angeles and all of California. Call today for your free consultation.

Posted Date: 
Friday, July 22, 2016

Westgate Resorts Hoping Their Case to be Overturned by Supreme Court

Westgate Resorts was found guilty of consumer fraud in a lawsuit in April and are now hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will review the lawsuit with the hopes that it will be overturned. Westgate Resort is a timeshare company that was sued for allegedly not providing accurate information to timeshare purchasers.

In the case, timeshare purchasers claimed that they were told they'd receive multiple benefits after purchasing their timeshare and those benefits were falsified. They also alleged that they were given information that was outdated and inaccurate.

The lawsuit was tried in Tennessee and the judge ruled in favor of the purchasers saying that Westgate Resorts "engaged in intentional and fraudulent conduct." The purchasers were awarded $500,000. Westgate Resorts is concerned that this lawsuit will spur multiple more lawsuits which is why they're hoping the Supreme Court reverse the decision.

When a company sells a product or service fraudulently, you have rights. Contact our Los Angeles consumer fraud attorney for help with your case. Our attorney, Howard D. Silver, can help you determine if you have recourse to file a lawsuit and can help you get compensated for your financial losses and suffering. Call us today at (855) 341-2611.

Posted Date: 
Friday, September 18, 2015

GM May Face Federal and State Criminal Fraud Charges

State and federal prosecutors are currently working to build criminal fraud cases against General Motors (GM) due to their actions in handling the ignition switch defects that have been linked to at least 54 car accidents and 13 deaths. While the federal charges mainly focus on mail and wire fraud charges, the state cases are seeking to demonstrate that the auto manufacturer violated consumer protection laws.

Currently, federal prosecutors are investigating potentially misleading statements made by GM regarding the ignition switch defects that led to a recall of millions of vehicles earlier this year. In particular, they are seeking to prove that GM officials were aware of this serious defect when they informed regulators that they had addressed the issue. Additionally, prosecutors are looking into the statements and instructions released to consumers regarding how to handle a vehicle that had lost power from the ignition switch defect.

Investigators have already released reports detailing incidents dating back nearly a decade, such as a 2005 notice to dealers, which instructed them to tell customers to remove unimportant items from key chains. GM officials consciously chose to remove the word "stall" from the notice out of fears that it would cause safety concerns among consumers. In 2007, GM officials told the NHTSA that there was "no specific problem pattern" in a series of car accidents the company already knew were associated with ignition switch defects.

If federal prosecutors move forward with a criminal case, they likely will seek to hold GM accountable for incidents occurring prior to the auto manufacturer's resolution of bankruptcy proceedings in 2009. Bankruptcy protections will not absolve GM from liability in a consumer fraud case.

Currently, at least 12 states have launched investigations into GM's activities. State investigations have been focusing more on whether GM violated state consumer fraud laws. In particular, they are being investigated for potentially committing unfair and deceptive practices such as product misrepresentation and failure to disclose a known defect to the general public.

Howard D. Silver is a Los Angeles consumer protection lawyer with more than 25 years of experience. If you have been injured in an accident caused by one of these defective GM vehicles, Mr. Silver will fight aggressively to ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.

Please contact the Law Office of Howard D. Silver today to schedule your free consumer fraud consultation. Mr. Silver serves clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernadino Counties, and throughout California.

Posted Date: 
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to Target Private Firms Committing Debt Collector Harassment

In a recent statement released by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray, he announced the agency will begin to shift their focus away from the banking industry and instead start targeting private firms which violate the fair debt collection regulations established by the Dodd-Frank Act.

"For the first time at the federal level, nonbank financial institutions are subject to supervisory oversight that holds them accountable for how they treat consumers," Cordray said in his statement.

This shift in focus has been brought about due to the rampant debt collector harassment being committed by nonbank institutions across the country. Common illegal debt collection practices used by many of these organizations include:

  • Making excessive calls to consumers outside of the mandated 8 am to 9 pm calling window
  • Calling consumers at their place of business
  • Visiting consumers at their workplace to collect a debt
  • Threatening consumers with a lawsuit solely for the purpose of intimidation
  • Threatening consumers with arrest and jail time for failure to pay a debt

By law, debt collection agencies are required to verify the existence of a debt before commencing debt collection proceedings. Many of these organizations fail to take this important step, resulting in consumers being harassed for debts that they have already paid and sometimes even for debts which they do not rightfully owe.

If you've been a victim of debt collector harassment, you have rights. Howard D. Silver is a consumer protection lawyer with more than 25 years of experience handling debt collector harassment cases. He can help you file a lawsuit in order to stop this harassment and recover compensation for your damages.

Please contact the Law Office of Howard D. Silver today to schedule a free debt collector harassment consultation. Mr. Silver serves clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernadino and Ventura Counties, and throughout California.

Posted Date: 
Friday, June 13, 2014

FTC Stops Florida-Based Debt Collection Scam Run Through India

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently put a stop to a debt collection scheme being run by two Florida-based companies that wrongfully collected a total of $5 million, according to The New York Daily News. The two organizations worked with a call center in India to collect debts from consumers who either did not owe anything or were indebted to someone else. After shutting down the two Florida companies, the FTC levied a $25.3 million fine for their illegal tactics and money taken from consumers. The companies reportedly created U.S. financial accounts for the India call center and primarily targeted consumers who had received payday loans.

In addition to wrongfully collecting debts, collection agents made threats to coerce payments and implemented a phony interest rate reduction scheme from January 2010 to August 2011. Further, reports indicate that the companies had taken sensitive personal financial information about consumers from online payday loan companies to begin illegal collection activity. In the event that you or a loved one is targeted by wrongful debt collection practices, a free consultation with Oxnard fair debt collection attorney Howard D. Silver can give you greater insight into your problem. Call the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver at (818) 597-2610 or fill out the online contact form at http://www.caconsumeradvocate.com/contact-us.html for help.

California Debt Collection Agency Shut Down Over Extorting Payments

Officials with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have shut down a debt collection company operating in California due to the organization illegally collecting payments from consumers. The Los Angeles Times reported that collection agents from the company posed as process servers when contacting debtors and used false threats of lawsuits to obtain payments. In taking action, members of the FTC stated they had put a stop to an “elaborate debt collection scheme.” According to the agency, four people operating under seven different company names with locations throughout Riverside and Orange Counties, consistently switched names to “avoid law enforcement scrutiny.”

Among the illegal activities engaged in by the company, collection agents falsely threatened lawsuits against consumers, contacted family members, friends, and coworkers of debtors, did not inform debtors of their right to dispute or verify debts, did not disclose the names of the companies they were calling for or properly state they were calling to collect a debt, all in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you have been targeted by unfair debt collection practices, get in touch with consumer rights attorney Howard D. Silver. Through the help of the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver, he can help you stand up and begin to obtain damages against collection companies. To learn more, call (855) 341-2611.

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ford Hit with $17.35 Million Fine for Year-Long Recall Delay

As reported by The Los Angeles Times, Ford Motor Company has recently been fined 17.35 million dollars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to safety regulators, the fine was levied for the company taking too long to recall vehicles.

California Auto Product Liability


Reports indicate that in July 2012, 423,634 model year 2001 through 2004 Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute vehicles with V-6 engines, were being recalled for sticking gas pedals. Unfortunately for Ford, however, it allegedly knew about the defect since May 2011 but waited more than one year to begin the recall.

The NHTSA deemed the time lag between May 2011 and July 2012 in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Regardless, Ford has remarked that they have confidence in their defect and recall identification processes and paid the fine to avoid a lengthy court battle with the U.S. government.

The NHTSA reports that sticking gas pedals were linked to nine injuries and one fatality in various crashes.

Get in touch with Ventura consumer rights attorney Howard D. Silver to not only learn more about your legal options, but to receive the help that comes from years of success representing California consumers. Call the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver at (818) 597-2610 today for more information.

Taking the Fight to Debt Collectors: Assert Your Rights

This is part two of a two-part feature from the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver on fighting back against unfair debt collection tactics. Part one can be found here While you may be generally aware that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives you certain rights, you may not be sure how to protect yourself against abusive and unlawful debt collection practices. If you are a target of these practices, keep in mind what’s been suggested by MSN.com.

Talk to Their Supervisor

If the collector is trying to scare you and is violating your rights, document his or her actions, get the person’s name and ask to speak with their supervisor. The collector may be reprimanded or fired and you can build a case against the company.

Call Them on Their Actions

Collectors may try and scare you by threatening to sue. Sometimes, however, a lawsuit isn’t filed. Make them aware you know that. Also, you cannot be arrested for an unpaid debt.

Tell Them to Stop Contacting You

You have the right to prevent a debt collector from contacting you. Tell them this in writing. If the collector continues to make contact, he or she will be violating the law.

Find a Skilled Attorney

Through a free consultation with a consumer law attorney, you will better understand your rights and the legal options. Should you need to take action, a lawyer will be able to guide you through the process. To learn more about your rights, call the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver at (855) 341-2611. Attorney Silver help you fight for your rights against unfair tactics and protect your finances.

Posted Date: 
Monday, May 5, 2014

Taking the Fight to Debt Collectors: Taking a Proactive Approach

This is the first of a two-part feature from the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver on fighting back against debt collection agencies that practice unfair tactics. For many consumers, being targeted by unfair debt collection tactics can leave them feeling confused and frightened. However, it is important to understand that you can fight back against these tactics. If you have been targeted by collectors who are using unlawful tactics and violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), consider the following options from MSN.com

Call Them Before They Call You

Calling the debt collector yourself will put you in a different mindset and in a position of greater authority, rather than going on the defensive after being called. This will help you be prepared to talk to the collector and pursue a strategy concerning your debt.

Find Out More about Them

You may have never heard of the company that is contacting you about a debt. When speaking to a representative, ask for their website, address, and contact information. Then investigate them to see if they are a legitimate business. Call the Better Business Bureau concerning their status and the state attorney general’s office to find out if they can legally collect in your state.

Make Them Validate the Debt

Under the FDCPA, you have the right to ask a collector to validate a debt. This will make them prove how the debt was collected and why you owe money.  If the company refuses to validate, they may be breaking the law.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

Prepare yourself for the stress of debt collection and possible illegal tactics. Understand the feelings of guilt, obligation, embarrassment, and fear so that they do not cause you to make a rash decision. Instead, stay level headed and focus on the business aspect of your interactions. Check back for our second entry covering more actions that you can take to protect yourself.

Massachusetts Officials Crack Down on Debt Collectors, Warn Against Use of Payday Loans

Multiple cease and desist orders were recently issued by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Division of Banks. According to Inside ARM, the orders went out to unlicensed lenders as well as a licensed debt collector, all of whom had been accused of violating Massachusetts consumer protection laws. Recipients of the orders included a licensed debt collection agency based in Nevada which was ordered to stop collecting payments on more than 100 payday loans issued to Massachusetts consumers. Additionally, cease and desist orders were given to five unlicensed lenders based online who worked with the Nevada-based agency. The agencies allegedly violated Massachusetts’ small loan statute due to their high interest rates and fees, some of which were more than 150 percent. Additionally, Massachusetts law dictates that businesses that make loans less than $6,000 with interest rates greater than 12 percent, must have a small-loan company license from the Division of Banks. Further, these types of loans can only have a maximum interest rate of 23 percent and third-party debt collectors must be supervised and licensed by the Division of Banks. The collection agency in question has been ordered to cease collection activity and refund fees to Massachusetts consumers. In coordination with the orders, the Division of Banks sent a letter to 408 licensed debt collectors warning them not to collect on loans from unlicensed creditors or loans that violate the state’s rate and fee limits. Fair debt collection attorney Howard D. Silver is committed to protecting consumers’ rights and financial well-being. If you have been targeted by debt collectors through unfair practices or for debts you do not owe, you owe it to yourself to enlist attorney Howard Silver for help. For more information call (855) 341-2611.

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