Help! A Solar Company Forged My Signature on a Contract

“Abuse.” “Dishonest.” “Fraud.” “Racketeering. These are the type of words you’d expect to see used to describe an organized crime family, not a company claiming to provide clean, renewable energy.

Nevertheless, this was the language New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas used last year in filing a civil complaint against Vivint Solar, accusing the company of deceptive business practices.

We’d like to tell you this is an isolated incident. But sadly, there are a growing number of scams coming out of the world of solar. Forged signatures, unlawful access to credit reports may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to solar scams.

How solar scams play out

You’re at home one day when a salesman knocks on your door. But he claims that what he’s selling – solar panels – won’t actually cost you any money.

Solar panels, he says, will pay for themselves. In fact, you might even make money. All you have to do is sign his tablet. And while it may not seem like it, you’ve become the target of a solar panel scam.

It might be that he’s signed you up for a contract you don’t need or want or added a neighbor or relative’s name to the contract.

And with your forged signature, solar companies will sometimes pull your credit report without your consent, a violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The rise of solar energy scams

Solar Panel Installation

In the New Mexico case, the state accused Vivint of using deceptive business practices by tying them into 20-year contracts that force them to buy the electricity produced by the panels at exorbitant rates.

The attorney general says the company’s sale model allows its workers to overstate how much consumers could save by going solar. Some people were told they could see their energy bills cut in half by going with Vivint.

And it’s not just Vivint. According to USA Today, the Better Business Bureau processed dozens of complaints in New Jersey alone over the past few years. They came from customers who say they were misled by solar companies about things like their ability to cancel contracts and the amount of money they could save.

You’re the victim of a forged signature. Solar companies should have to answer for their fraud.

Before you sign up for a solar contract, it’s a good idea to ask the following:

  • What if I want to sell my house?
  • How can I get out of my contract?
  • What will it cost to get out of my contract?
  • Will my monthly rate per kilowatt hour or monthly leasing charge for the solar panels automatically go up each year?

You should also consult with an attorney, especially if you think you’ve already become a victim of a solar panel scam.

If you discover that a solar company has pulled your credit report without your permission, the law firm of Flitter Milz can help.

We’ve heard complaints about unscrupulous solar companies from consumers around the country. Our lawyers can work with you to determine if your rights have been violated.

Whether a solar company forged your signature or wasn’t upfront about its contract, we can make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today to learn more.

Repossessions: Know What to Expect – Before, During and After

7 Million Americans are Behind on Car Loans. 

A Record 7 Million Behind on Car Loans”, Philadelphia Inquirer on 2/13/19

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that, “A record seven million Americans are 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments.  Despite a strong economy, economists are warning that Americans are struggling. Although a car loan is the first payment people make because a vehicle is critical to getting to work, when car loan delinquencies rise, it is a sign that many American are under duress.”

BEFORE a Repossession:
1) Prepare yourself.
We all know that when a borrower falls behind on payments or breaks the terms of an auto loan agreement, the lender, whether it’s the bank, finance institution or credit union, is entitled to repossess the vehicle.  These terms are stated in the loan agreement, or Retail Installment Sales Contract, that is signed at the time of purchase.

Repossessions can occur at any time of day or night — while at the supermarket, taking the kids to school, at a relative’s home for holiday dinner, or while  asleep.  Even if a borrower anticipates a repossession may occur, it never happens at a good time.  Prepare yourself.

With a little forethought, you may be able to ease the stress caused by a car repossession.  If you’ve fallen behind and believe your car may be up for repossession, make a plan to handle daily chores for you and your family. 

  • Ask for help.  Contact your family, friends and neighbors and find out who may help. Inquire about their work schedules and daily commitments. Let them know you may have an emergency coming up and need their assistance.
  • Organize carpools and babysitters. Develop a network of friends that can step in to cover demands of the household.
  • Arrange for delivery. Call your supermarket or pharmacy to find out if they are able to make deliveries to your home.  Inquire about the cost and delivery schedule.

2) Clean out the car.  
Before your vehicle is taken, gather items from your car and store them in a safe place.  If your car is taken unexpectedly, you may not have a chance to remove all of your personal items.  Often, the repo man may not allow you time to remove everything. And, remember, once out of your possession, these belongings may be lost – forever

Pre-Repossession Check List
_____ Buyer’s Agreement
_____ Loan Agreement
_____ Odometer Statement
_____ Vehicle Registration
_____ Warranty Agreement
_____ Auto Insurance Policy & Card
_____ Auto Insurance Payment Record
_____ Vehicle Service Records
_____ Loan Payment History from Lender
_____ Loan Payment Records
_____ All Correspondence from Lender             

Vehicle Photographs
_____ Car Interior & Exterior   
_____ VIN# from Inside Door
_____ Odometer Reading
                   
 Removal of all Valuables
_____ Wallet/Purse/Cash/Paycheck
_____ Medications/Prescriptions
_____ Work-related items
_____ Laptop computer
_____ Phone
_____ Child Car Seat

DURING a Repossession:

The lender will hire a repossession company to retrieve vehicles scheduled for repossession. The repo-man cannot use physical force, threaten you, or enter your property without permission.  If you believe the repo-man mishandled the repossession, take steps to document the event.

  • Prepare a written statement with date, time, repo company & agent, & events.
  • Photograph the scene.
  • Repo agent’s truck and license plate.
  • Your vehicle, interior, exterior and odometer reading.
  • Damaged property, i.e. garage door, fence, other vehicles, lawn, etc.
  • Obtain witness statements.
  • Request the police come to the scene. Obtain a police report.

Police Involvement:  Keep the Peace or Breach the Peace?

It’s not uncommon for the police to become involved during a car repossession. Sometimes the repo agent or the borrower will ask the police to be there to diffuse a potentially volatile situation. The police may assist in keeping the peace.  

If the police get involved in the repossession of the vehicle, they may have crossed the line from keeping the peace, to breaching the peace.  The police may not threaten arrest, or damage to the vehicle, or command the vehicle or keys be turned over.  If this occurs, the borrower’s Constitutional rights may have been violated and a lawsuit against the police, repo agency and/or lender may be filed.

AFTER a Repossession:

The borrower is entitled to receive notices from the lender after a vehicle is repossessed.  The first letter is a repossession notice called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property, which details terms for the borrower to retrieve the vehicle.  This notice will detail payments required, the time period for payments to be paid to the lender, and the repo lot location for retrieval of the vehicle and any personal property.

If the borrower is unable to get the vehicle back, the lender will arrange to sell the it at an auction or a private sale.  Once sold, a second notice is sent to the borrower confirming the selling price of the vehicle and any remaining balance due on the loan. This notice is called a Deficiency Notice.  

FREE LEGAL HELP:

Flitter Milz is knowledgeable about the laws governing repossessions of cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and RVs.  If your vehicle has been repossessed, CONTACTUS.  We will review the details of your case at no cost to you, and evaluate whether your consumer rights were violated. 

What Can I Do If My Car Was Repossessed by Mistake?

Last spring, The Chicago Tribune published a story on “The Surprising Return of the Repo Man.”

The story chronicled an unexpected boom in the repo industry fueled by “souring” subprime auto loans.

“So much of America is just a heartbeat away from a repossession – even good people, decent people who aren’t deadbeats,” Florida repo agent Patrick Altes told the Post.

In fact, some people who have their cars repossessed don’t deserve it at all. It’s not just that they’re good, decent people. It’s that the repo company was in the wrong.

Can I get my car back after repossession?

When you default on a car loan, your lender can repossess your vehicle. Most defaults come from someone failing to make their monthly payments. If you’re up to date on your payments and your car was repossessed, then clearly, a wrongful car repossession has occurred.

But even if you have missed payments, lenders and repo agents need to follow the law. If your vehicle has been unlawfully repossessed, you may be able to sue your lender and the repo agent.

Here’s what lenders and repossession companies need to do to stay within the bounds of the law:

  1. Before they repossess your car, the repo company needs to notify your local police. If you wake up to a missing car, call the police and your lender to confirm whether the car was stolen, or simply repossessed.
  2. Repo agents are not allowed to “breach the peace” while doing their job. This means they can’t threaten you or use physical force. Nor can they access locked/fenced-in areas of your property without permission. Finally, repo agents must leave your property when asked.
  3. Repo agents cannot damage your property. If you see this happen, document it and get statements from witnesses.
  4. After your vehicle has been repossessed, you might be asking “Can I get my car back after repossession?” Your lender is required to send you a notice that outlines what you need to do to recover your car. This is what’s known as a “Notice of Intent to Sell Property.”

Did the police obey the law?

It’s not uncommon for the police to become involved during a car repossession. Sometimes the repo agent will ask the police to be there to defuse a potentially volatile situation. Other times the consumer might call the police on the repossession company.

However, there are limits to what the police can do. They aren’t allowed to assist the repo agent by ordering you to hand over your keys or threatening to arrest you.

If the police do any of these things, they may have gone from keeping the peace to breaching the peace and violating your rights. You may be able to bring a suit against the police, along with the repo agency and your lender.

What should I do while my car is being repossessed?

During the repossession, make a record of everything that’s happening. This includes:

  • Date and time of the repossession
  • The name of the car repossession company and agent and the license number of their tow truck
  • The name and badge number of the responding police officers
  • A copy of the police report
  • Names and contact info for witnesses
  • Photos of any property damage and video of the entire event

Make sure you remove your personal property from your car, as well as any documents relating to the sale of the vehicle, including your retail installment sales contract, buyer’s agreement, and registration and insurance information.

Again, your lender is required to send you the notice of intent to sell your car after the repossession to allow you enough time to recover your vehicle before it is auctioned off or sold to a private buyer.

Your car has been taken, and now you’re wondering “Can I get my car back after repossession?” Let the attorneys at Flitter Milz help you figure out where to go from here.

If your lender or the repo agency mishandled your case, our consumer protection attorneys are ready to fight for you. Contact us today so we can review your case. You’ve tried to play by the rules with your car payments. There’s no reason your lender shouldn’t do the same.

What is a Consumer Law Attorney?

There was a time when consumers in America were essentially helpless when it came to dishonest business practices and defective products.

It was only in the last 40-50 years that we’ve seen the advent of laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Truth in Lending Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act which give a legal voice against the banks and credit bureaus that have the ability to negatively impact a consumer’s credit profile.

And although these laws are designed to help consumers, they aren’t always followed or enforced. That’s where a consumer law attorney can help.

What is a consumer law attorney?

A consumer law attorney is a lawyer who focuses on protecting the rights of ordinary citizens who have been cheated, threatened or otherwise abused in the course of doing business.

Some of these lawyers are attorneys who work for government agencies that handle consumer affairs, or for public interest groups. Others go into private practice to handle individual consumer claims or larger class action suits.

It’s a field that touches virtually everyone in the country. We all interact with banks and credit companies. We all run the risk of being denied a loan due to inaccurate credit reporting, contacted by an abusive debt collector for someone else’s debt, or victimized by a car repossession when payments are misapplied.

But who can we turn to when things go wrong?

Consumer lawyers understand consumer credit law.  They know when a consumer’s rights have been violated by the credit bureau, debt collector or bank, and will fight for your rights in court…and in most cases, the “Bad Guys” pay the consumer’s legal bill.

What kind of cases do consumer law attorneys handle?

An attorney who specializes in consumer law might handle all types of cases. Some of the most common practice areas include:

1.    Debt collection

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from unscrupulous attempts to collect unpaid bills.

Debt collection companies are not allowed to threaten you with action they can’t/don’t intend to take. Nor can they contact your relatives or co-workers about your debt, give you false information or keep calling you after you send them a written request to stop. And when a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can take them to court.

There are many ways to identify debt collection harassment, but attempting to stop this behavior can be difficult, especially as you try to manage your day-to-day life.

If you don’t feel confident enough to go after a debt collector in court, a consumer law attorney can take up your cause and determine whether the collection agency violated the FDCPA.

2.    Car repossession

A bank, credit union or finance company can repossess a vehicle if the borrower has fallen behind on payments.

Yet under the law, lenders and car repossession companies still must operate within the law. There are rules detailing how and when they can begin repossession proceedings, how the repossession must be conducted by the repo agent, what kind of notices they must give after the repossession and how a sale of the car should be handled.

If any of these rules were ignored or overlooked during or after the repossession, you may be able to take legal action, even if you had fallen behind on your payments. A consumer law attorney can help you navigate this complicated legal territory.

3.    Credit reports

Your credit history can determine everything from what kind of car you drive, to the job you have, to  where you live, which is why it’s important that all the information on your credit report is accurate.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)protects consumers from inaccurate or outdated credit report listings, duplicate listings of the same account, mis-merged files, and other errors.

If you discover any inaccuracies on your report, or that your report was accessed without your permission, you should send a written dispute to the credit bureau in question (Equifax, Experian or Transunion). If they don’t correct the information, or provide you with information about who obtained your report, a consumer law attorney can help you determine whether your rights have been violated and help you dispute errors in your credit report.

4.    Unwanted calls

If you’ve been getting unwanted calls to your cell phone from a telemarketer, bank or collection agency, you can write to them to revoke your permission to get calls or texts.

If the auto-dialed calls, or “robocalls”, continue, the caller may be in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, (TCPA) which allows consumers to receive between $500 and $1,500 for every call they get after revoking their consent. A good consumer lawyer understands your rights under the TCPA and how to effectively defend them in court. Who can I call about a consumer law issue?

If you’ve been the victim of a car repossession, unscrupulous debt collectors, robocalls or an inaccurate credit report, the consumer law attorneys at Flitter Milz can help you seek justice.

Our attorneys understand consumer protection law.  Their experience in bringing cases under the FDCPA, FCRA and the TCPA have enabled consumers to standup to abusive collection tactics, credit reporting accuracy and privacy violations, unwanted “robocalls”, and unlawful vehicle repossessions. Contact us for a free legal evaluation and we’ll get to work on making sure you get the protection every consumer deserves.

Speak with our attorneys today about your consumer rights.

How to Report Telemarketers

It’s been a long day, but you’re finally home. Dinner is ready. Work is a distant memory.  That TV show you like is on tonight. Or, your new book is waiting to be read. For the next few hours, you can just relax.  And then —

Your phone rings. And it’s not just any call interrupting your evening. It’s a…telemarketer!

The advent of the Do Not Call registry was supposed to put an end to this, but like cockroaches and horror movie villains, telemarketing calls are surprisingly hard to escape.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  There are ways you can avoid unwanted calls.  Read on to learn how to get yourself off telemarketers’ lists and how to report do no call violations.

Find Out Who is Calling

If you want to get the calls to stop, you’ll have to make contact.  Simply hanging up might be misinterpreted – did a child answer the phone? – or convince the telemarketer to just keep calling back until you answer.

Be polite – as tough as that might be – find out who is calling.  Make a note of the time and date of the call, plus the caller ID.  Having this info will make it easier to file a complaint.  If calls continue after you’ve requested the caller stop, the telemarketer could be in violation of your consumer rights.

Callers are required by law to tell you if they are making a sales call or are calling from a charity.  They also need to explain what they are selling or if they want a donation. If the caller won’t answer your questions, you might be dealing with a scam.  In that case, you should report the calls to government agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and your state Attorney General.  So, before hanging up, be sure to document the call in the event that you need to submit a complaint.

Ask to be placed on their “Do Not Call” list

Every telemarketing organization is required by law to have an in-house “do not call” list.  Tell them – politely but firmly – that you want to go on that list:  “Please put me on your internal do not call list.”

Keep insisting.  If the caller won’t comply, ask to speak to his or her supervisor.  Don’t relent until you get a chance to speak with someone in authority that will honor your request.

Ask if they’re working on behalf of another company.  If so, find out the name and location of that company and ask to be placed on their do not call list as well.  Find out how long it will take to have your name added, as some companies don’t always update the lists right away.  In addition, you should write the company and request removal of your name from their call list. Be sure to keep a copy of your dated letter.

How to Report Do Not Call Violations

Once you’ve been placed on the do not call list, companies have the right to call you one more time. If this happens, make a note of the time and date of the call and the name of the caller.

Tell the caller you’re on the do not call list and let them know that any new calls you receive from them in the next 12 months may give you the right to file suit against them.

If you’re still getting unwanted calls, there are some steps you can take:

  • File a complaint with the National Do Not Call Registry, which you can find at: www.donotcall.gov, or call: 888-382-1222.  This registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission by calling: 888-225-5322
  • File a complaint with your state Attorneys General.

Remember, never give out personal or financial information to a telemarketer.

If you’ve taken all these steps on how to report do not call violations and the unwanted calls haven’t stopped, or you’re getting auto-dialed “robo” calls to your mobile phone that you’ve never consented to, it may be time to take legal action.

The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act allows consumers to recover $500 to $1500 for every call they received after asking to be removed from a company’s list.

The attorneys at Flitter Milz are experts on TCPA law and have helped several Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents who have gotten unwanted calls or been the victim of unscrupulous telemarketers.

If you’re one of these consumers, contact us today to discuss your legal rights.

 

Toll Free:  888-668-1225        Email:  consumers@consumerslaw.com

E Signing Your Rights Away

In our increasingly paperless society, more and more companies are requiring consumers to sign contracts electronically, called “e-signing.”  You may have encountered this yourself.  A door-to-door salesperson promises you a deal that sounds almost too good to be true, but only if you sign their electronic tablet on the spot.  An online lender guarantees to get you money now, but only after you check the boxes on the website.  The convenience seems hard to pass on.  You don’t even have to deal with the finicky fine print! Instead, you get what you want, and you can get it now.

The Pitfall of E-signing

The problem is – even though there’s no paperwork – that fine print is still lurking in the background, and it could potentially come back to haunt you.  Little did you know that the table you e-signed contained a multiple page contract with fees that the salesperson didn’t mention.  Or, unknowingly, you provided access to your credit report. You’ve been duped! And now you’re stuck in a contract that is costing you money as each day goes by, and there’s no end in sight.

Does the consumer have rights?

But all is not lost. Depending on the situation, you might be able to get out of the contract.  In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, there are laws requiring that — in certain consumer transactions — you receive a copy of the written contract at the time of signing.  For example, the Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act states that home improvement contracts are not valid unless you get a copy of the entire agreement in writing.  The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act requires that in any sale of merchandise, you be provided a full and accurate copy of the contract documents at the time of signing.  There are laws in both states that require “cooling-off periods”, during which you can cancel or “rescind” the contract in its entirety.  These contracts must also accurately notify you of your right to cancel.  Consumer protection laws in other states give consumers similar rights.

Can I sue and get my money back?

Here’s the problem. When you signed that iPad or checked that innocent-looking box, you may have unknowingly agreed to give up important consumer rights. In all likelihood, your contract contained an arbitration clause, which means that you’ve given up your constitutional right to a jury trial, your right to appeal, and even your right to a judge.  You probably also waived your right to bring a class action.  This is significant, because if a company is nickel-and-diming you, it may not be financially feasible for an attorney to take on your case unless you have the ability to bring a class action on behalf of everyone who’s been scammed.  But when you unknowingly sign your rights away and “agree” to have your case decided individually in an arbitration proceeding, you may not have any legal recourse.

How can I protect myself?  Steps to Take.

Take your time and do not feel pressured by the salesman.  It’s important for you to know all of the terms of the deal before e-signing a contract. Demand that the company provide the contract in writing.  Insist that the company remove the arbitration clause from the contract.  If you’re already “stuck” in a bad contract, Contact Flitter Milz, and we’ll evaluate your situation free of charge.

Toll Free:   888-668-1225    Email: consumers@consumerslaw.com

How Stand Against Collection Agency Harassment

You pride yourself on paying your bills on time. It’s how you were brought up.

But like a lot of people these days, you found yourself living paycheck to paycheck, and some bills became a lot harder to pay. Now you owe money to a collection agency, and their calls and letters just never seem to end.

However, there’s a line between a company making legitimate attempts to recoup what they’re owed and debt collector abuse. You might owe money, but you still have rights. If you think a collection agency has strayed into the latter category, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Debt Collector Harassment

Debt collection is a multi-billion dollar industry that affects over 70 million consumers in the United States.  A recent report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that over one-in-four consumers contacted by debt collectors felt threatened.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that offers protections to consumers for debts that have been sent to collection agencies. Personal obligations, such as credit cards, medical bills, utility bills, or loans, are covered under the FDCPA. When the law has been violated, the consumer may take legal action against the collector.

Common violations of the FDCPA include:

  • Misrepresentation of the debt to the consumer. 
  • Threats of legal action when none is intended.
  • Aggressive, harassing methods are used by the collector.  
  • Collection contact after a consumer has filed for bankruptcy.
  • Failure to report a disputed debt accurately to the credit bureaus.

The Collection Process

Consumers seek credit for a variety of purposes –personal or auto loans, store credit cards, payment of medical or utility bills — the company that provides the credit — the bank, credit union, lender, doctor’s office or utility — is call the creditor.  When the borrower falls behind on payments to the creditor, attempts are made to collect on the defaulted account.  If a creditor’s internal collection efforts have been unsuccessful, the creditor may choose to hire a third party collector – a collection agency or collection law firm – to continue collection.

These delinquent accounts may be assigned to a collector for a specific period of time, or they could be sold to a collector.  Regardless, once the debt is in the hands of a third party collector, the FDCPA must be followed.  If the collector uses tactics which violate the FDCPA,  the consumer may file a lawsuit against the collector.  Lawsuits pursued under the FDCPA provide for the debt collector to pay the consumer’s legal fees – whether the debt is owed or not.

Here are three situations in which you might have a case for debt collector harassment:

  1. They don’t offer proof of your debt
    Under the FDCPA, collection agencies have to give consumers the name of the original creditor who is claiming the debt, how much they’re owed, and show proof of how the amount claimed was calculated. If a collection agency won’t show proof that you owe a debt, you may be able to  take them to court.
     
  2. They flat out lie to you
    If a debt collector lies while trying to recover what you owe, they’re violating the FDCPA. Have they told you that you owe more than you actually do? Claimed to be a lawyer when they aren’t? Threatened to sue when they have no grounds to do so?  If so, you  may have a case for a debt collector harassment lawsuit.
     
  3. Their phone calls go too far
    The FDCPA forbids debt collectors from using harassing tactics to collect debts. This includes making threats, using obscene language, speaking with someone else about your debt, or repeated phone calls that are intended to harass or abuse.
     

Remember that you can get debt collectors to stop calling altogether. If you notify the collector in writing by sending a Cease & Desist letter, the calls are to stop. They can only get in touch with you again to say that there will be no further contact from that collection agency.

If you tell a debt collector that you have hired an attorney, they’re required to contact your lawyer instead of you or risk violating the FDCPA.

Flitter Milz can help.

Unexpected life events — job loss, illness, divorce — can place anyone in a vulnerable position.  Finances become tight, payments are missed and collectors begin to call or send letters. Sometimes, family members, co-workers or neighbors may be contacted.  Shame and embarrassment, coupled with the financial pressure, make life unbearable.  That’s where Flitter Milz steps in.

Our debt collection attorneys understand the FDCPA.  They know how to stop abusive collection tactics. They will fight for the consumer in court to seek the justice that is deserved. 

Take Action Today.  Free Legal Evaluation.

Call toll-free at 888-668-1225, or contact us today 

 

Protect Yourself from Solar Scams

We hear from a lot of people these days who fear they might be the victim of a solar scam. There’s a knock on the door, a fast-talking salesman, and, before they know it, they’re bound to a lengthy and costly contract for solar panels they did not want or need.

You can protect yourself from a solar nightmare.

First, it’s important to know how the common solar ripoff works:

  • There’s an unexpected knock at your door, or an eager salesman meets you in your yard.
  • He might say he spoke to your neighbor who’s getting solar, and heard that you might be interested too.
  • It’s common for the salesman to say that he’s with your electric company or with the local government, and needs to inspect your roof, circuit box, or another part of your house to see if you qualify for a special rebate, tax credit, or program.
  • He may pressure you into making a hurried decision claiming that the tax credits or rebates are due to end soon.
  • He may offer you cash incentives simply for determining if you qualify, and ask you for a blank check so that your incentive can be deposited into your account.
  • Lastly, he’ll ask you to sign his iPad or tablet to check if you’re qualified.

BEWARE!

Many consumers learn only much later that they have a hard inquiry on their credit reports made without permission, that their names have been forged on documents, and that they’ve been placed into a lengthy contract binding them to buy or lease solar panels or energy at high prices. The solar scammer hides the fraudulent electronic contract until it appears that it’s too late to cancel it.

How to protect yourself from unscrupulous solar companies

  • Slow things down.There is no rush for you to enter into a deal. If you feel rushed, it might be a solar scam.
  • Get a straight answer about who the salesman works for. Get his business card and tell him you’ll call back after doing your own research on his company.
  • Be cautious about big promises of energy savings, referrals, rebates, or tax credits. Go online and do your own research.
  • Shop around. There are many solar companies to choose from.  Compare quotes from the inquirer with local and national companies to figure out what works best for you.
  • Read the contract. Get a copy before you sign anything. Solar contracts are long and complex. You need to know what you are getting into.
  • Never give our personal information – bank account numbers, birth dates, Social Security Number – to a stranger you just met. (This goes for anyone, not just door-to-door salesmen).
  • Monitor your credit. It is illegal for a solar company to make a hard inquiry on your credit report without a permissible purpose.
  • Visit websites for the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for advice on protection from solar energy scams.
  • Research news articles for stories about solar scams in your area.

If you feel that you have been the Victim of Solar Panel Scam, see a suspicious hard inquiry on your credit report, or have been ripped off by a door-to-door salesman, contact a qualified consumer protection attorney experienced in the laws governing credit report privacy and consumer fraud.

Click here if you think you've been the victim of a solar panel scam.

How Get Your Car Back After Repossession

How Do You Get Your Car Back After Repossession?

You don’t park your car in front of your house anymore.

It’s been a few months since you were able to make a payment and you’re worried about repo men showing up in the middle of the night.

What you didn’t anticipate is the repossession firm showing up where you work. Suddenly, you have no car, no way to get back home, no way to get anywhere.

This can be a devastating situation, but it’s not a hopeless one. Even though your car has been repossessed, it doesn’t mean you can’t get it back.
 

Was your vehicle wrongfully repossessed?

Auto lenders can repossess vehicles if the borrower defaults on the loan.  However, consumer laws protect borrowers from tactics used by the lender or repossession agent in the process of taking a vehicle.  While the repossession company must inform local police of an impending repossession, the repo agent can’t:

  • Enter a closed garage or trespass on your property
  • Come into your home unless they’ve been invited
  • Damage your car during repossession
  • Cause physical harm to you
  • Threaten you with violence or arrest
  • Make you pull over while driving
  • Have law enforcement assist

If your vehicle has been taken, a car repossession lawyer can review the sequence of events for a wrongful repossession and evaluate whether your rights as a consumer were violated.
 

Car repossession: How to get it back

Look at your loan agreement

Your signed loan agreement states terms if your vehicle is repossessed. Some loan agreements allow the borrower to reinstate the loan by paying past due payments, while others demand a full payoff of the loan.  Check your agreement to see the terms that were agreed upon for your loan.
 

Review documents sent by the lender

After your vehicle has been repossessed, the lender, bank, or credit union is required to provide you with a letter which confirms the repossession and states terms for you to get it back.  This notice, frequently called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property, explains how much money is owed, where your car is, and how much time you have to meet the terms before the car will be sold at a private sale or auction.

After the vehicle is sold, a letter is sent to the borrower confirming the selling price of the car and any remaining balance owed on the loan, or surplus due the borrower.
 

Retrieve your personal belongings

The repo company/lender don’t have any claim to belongings that you had in the car at the time of the repossession.  You have 30 days to retrieve your belongings from the repo lot. After this period, the repo agent will dispose of these items.
 

Gather these documents for a legal review

1. Loan Agreement or Retail Installment Sales Contract

If you financed your car through an auto dealer, your loan agreement, or Retail Installment Sales Contract (RISC), details what will happen if you default on your loan. Keep this and other car purchase documents in a safe place (in other words, not in your car).

But if you have left your loan agreement in the car, you can either contact your lender or the car dealership to retrieve this paperwork or visit the repo lot to get back the agreement and any other personal items you left in your vehicle.

2. Repossession Notice or Notice of Intent to Sell Property

Under the law, your lender doesn’t have to notify you in advance of the repossession. But they do need to send you a repossession notice once the vehicle has been taken.  This notice contains the most important piece of information about your car repossession: how to get it back.

The letter will tell you how much you’ll need to pay to get your car back. This amount might be the full balance of your loan, or just the past due payments.  You should receive this letter within enough time to make arrangements to recover the car before it’s sold or auctioned off.

3. Deficiency Notice

After the car has been sold, the lender will send you a letter known as a Deficiency Notice which lets you know the sale price, any repossession and storage fees, and  the calculation of the remaining balance owed on the loan.  As well, if there’s a surplus from the sale, the letter will tell you the amount owed to you by the lender if the sale price was more than the full loan balance.

If your rights have been violated during repossession, or if your bank or the repossession agent overlooked the laws protecting borrowers, you may be able to take legal action. The attorneys at Flitter Milz can help. Our consumer protection lawyers can review your case and determine whether the finance company and/or repossession agent acted within the bounds of the law and if you can take legal action.

If your car – or truck, boat, motorcycle or recreational vehicle – has been repossessed, contact us today for a free consultation.

 

Flitter Milz KOs Collection Giant Midland Credit Management

September 24, 2018/Philadelphia, PA

U.S. Court of Appeals precedential ruling impacts consumers nationwide

In an important ruling this week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed with Flitter Milz that a collection dun sent to a consumer was deceptive and in violation of the federal law regulating debt collectors.

Midland Credit Management, one of the largest debt-buyers and debt collectors in the United States, sent our client a collection notice stating Midland would “report forgiveness of debt as required by IRS regulations.”  Flitter Milz argued that the debt involved was so small that there is nothing ever to report to the IRS, and the statement about Internal Revenue was just a scare tactic.

The federal appeals court, sitting in Philadelphia, agreed that the consumer might be persuaded into thinking that a settlement may be reportable to the IRS, and this remark is misleading under the consumer laws.  The Court agreed with Flitter Milz, holding that “it is not merely the inclusion of a lie, but also incomplete” language in a collection letter that may violate the consumer laws.The Court has told Midland that ‘half-truths’ to consumers are not good enough.

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm representing consumers in matters against collection agencies and collection law firms for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. “This victory, is not just for our client and firm, but for consumers across the U.S.”, said Cary Flitter and Andy Milz.  

To learn more about this case, Robert A. Schultz, Jr & Donna Schultz v Midland Credit Management, click here .  Consumers with questions about collection contact, calls or letters, from Midland Credit Management, contact us.

Midland Credit Management is a billion dollar purchaser of consumer debt, who collects and files collection lawsuits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and across the country.