Markoff Leinberger's Consumer Rights Blog
Consumer Rights Law Firm Serving Clients in Chicago, Illinois, and Nationwide
The FTC recently issued a challenge to software developers: find a solution to effectively and easily block robocalls and receive a $50,000 prize. The challenge garnered over 800 submissions, but only two made the final cut.
Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss were awarded $25,000 each for their proposals for intercepting and filtering illegal robocalls. Using a CAPTCHA-style test, both of these proposals include feasible ways to prevent illegal robocalls from getting through to unsuspecting cellphone users. According to Charles Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, “The solutions that our winners came up with have the potential to turn the...Read More
HSBC has agreed to pay $1.58 billion to settle a class action lawsuit – now in its 14th year – regarding alleged misleading business practices during the subprime lending crisis. The settlement has not yet been approved by the courts, but is intended to include a pretax charge of $585 million in the second quarter to resolve litigation fees, representing 9% of the company’s estimated second quarter pretax profit.
This lawsuit began in 2002 when investors alleged HSBC had made misleading statements about its mortgage lending practices. In 2009, a federal jury in Chicago found HSBC guilty, but a 2013 judgement against the company was overturned by a higher court following appeal in 2015....Read More
A federal judge in Atlanta has approved a class action lawsuit against CapitalOne filed by consumers who claim to have been bombarded by robocalls from the banking giant. According to the plaintiffs, CapitalOne robocalls were so persistent, phones were rendered unavailable for other uses.
CapitalOne fought to have the class action lawsuit dismissed by claiming that there were no real injuries involved. However, as the robocalls placed on behalf of CapitalOne were in violation of the TCPA, Judge Thomas Thrash sided with the plaintiffs and is allowing the case to proceed....Read More
The TCPA prohibits non-emergency calls from autodialers to cellphone numbers unless “prior express consent” is given by the owner of the number. But what exactly is “prior express consent” and are some companies abusing this relatively vague term to harass and intimidate consumers? The answer to the second question is most certainly yes – largely made possible by the complexities of the first.
There have been several rulings on the meaning of prior express consent, though the FCC defines it as “unambiguous written consent,” which seems to make clear the intent of the regulation. Nonetheless, unscrupulous companies continue to engage in questionable behavior under...Read More
On June 2nd, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed new regulations to protect consumers against “debt traps” created by short-term lenders. Often simply called “payday” or “auto-title” loans, these high-interest loans typically have the largest impact on men and women who are already struggling financially. The way these loans are currently structured – with excessive fees and unreasonable interest rates – allow them to put consumers in a perpetual cycle of debt, never fully able to pay back the original...Read More
In May, the Obama administration signed into law a bill that extends overtime pay to more than 4.2 million Americans. Currently, if you make under $23,660 a year, you are automatically eligible for overtime pay. As of December 1, 2016, this benefit will be extended to salaried employees who make up to $47,476 a year and work over 40 hours a week. The White House estimates this change will provide approximately 35% of the salaried workforce with overtime benefits, up from the 7% currently covered.
With new rules come new chances for overtime violations, and some companies may be willing to get creative with calculating hours to prevent...Read More
A new law has opened the door to robocalls to cellphones from debt collectors acting on behalf of the federal government. With its passage, this law allows automated collection calls to the cellphones of people with student loans, back taxes, and government-backed mortgages. The FCC, however, is moving to restrict the number of text messages and robocalls that can be made through this new law without the express permission of the debtor.
Under the TCPA, collection calls and texts sent to cellphones require previous consent from the consumer. Congress has created this exception in regards to the collection of federal debt, though consumer advocates warn this could open the floodgates for all types of unsolicited and unwanted collection calls. To add to the problem, cellphone numbers change frequently and the FCC has received several complaints of repeated calls being made to numbers no longer owned by the intended recipient. Unfortunately, there is...Read More
Dark Patters is a term coined by British user-experience consultant Harry Brignull. It refers to any number of exploitative techniques that trick consumers into purchasing products and services they may not intend to buy. Even reputable companies may engage in this practice and, sadly, there are few legal protections against it. However, if you believe you have been tricked into purchasing a product or ended up with a service through means you find duplicitous, you may be entitled to compensation. The Chicago consumer protection attorneys at Markoff Leinberger are here to investigate your claim and help you determine if...Read More
If you’ve ever visited a gym to decide on whether to become a member, you’ve probably been a bit surprised at being asked to sign a long-term agreement. Not only is this annoying and expensive, it’s also potentially illegal.
Recent administrative actions filed in New Jersey by that state’s Division of Consumer Affairs alleges twenty health clubs locked their members into contracts longer than three months without first securing proper financial backup that helps assure members can be refunded their membership dues should the club go out of business. In addition, the New Jersey DCA found the health clubs:
- Failed to conspicuously post consumer rights’ notices
- Failed to register their business with the state (required if a business devotes more than 40% of its floor space to...
Last month, several consumer rights organizations and agencies joined forces to promote a week of education and public awareness aimed at protecting Americans from the scams that so often necessitate a lawyer. Through their website, www.ncpw.gov, organizers informed consumers of their rights with regards to the following areas:
- Health & Safety
- Credit/Credit Cards