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Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

Cary L. Flitter — Super Lawyer for 20th Consecutive Year

Cary L. Flitter

Cary L. Flitter, founding member of Flitter Milz, PC, was selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers Magazine for the 20th straight year.

Super Lawyers is a prestigious, annual list that highlights attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practices. Attorneys are selected based on peer recognition and professional achievement for their designations. A research committee makes the final determination through a rigorous process that includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Cary is known as a national expert in consumer protection law with decades of experience standing up for the rights of consumers in individual and class action cases.  His 20th consecutive selection by his peers recognizes his enormous contribution to furthering the rights of consumers in Pennsylvania and beyond.  Cary has been a Super Lawyer each year from 2005 to the present, and has previously been named a “Top 100” Super Lawyer for both Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.

Flitter Milz Attorneys recognized as 2024 Super Lawyers

In addition, the May 2024 edition of Super Lawyers has included Flitter Milz attorneys Andy Milz in its publication for the 11th consecutive year, and
Jody López-Jacobs as a Rising Star for the 4th straight year.

 

Pictured (l-r):  Andy Milz, Jody López-Jacobs

 

Legal Help from Consumer Law Attorneys

Flitter Milz looks forward to continuing to achieve successful results for consumers that have suffered the challenges of every day consumer credit matters involving credit reporting privacy and accuracy issues, wrongful vehicle repossessions, and unfair or deceptive business practices. Contact us for a consultation at no cost.

Consumer Law Success at Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court

 

Dwyer v. Ameriprise Financial

On April 25, 2024, the Supreme Court issued a precedential opinion in Dwyer v. Ameriprise Financial siding with the consumer Plaintiffs, affirming the broad remedial nature of Pennsylvania’s flagship consumer protection law, the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL).

Liberal Damages Award under UTPCPL

The Supreme Court held that the trial court could not use a jury’s common-law punitive damages award or the award of statutory attorney fees to limit the availability of treble (triple) damages under the UTPCPL.  Rather than being interchangeable with punitive damages, treble damages under the UTPCPL are a separate remedy available to consumers wholly independent of any entitlement to punitive damages or attorney fees.

The Court reiterated the UTPCPL’s purpose “to benefit the public at large by eradicating” unfair acts and practices and the Act must be read “liberally to effect its object of preventing unfair or deceptive practices.”

Amicus Brief Authors

Flitter Milz, PC attorneys Cary Flitter, Andy Milz and Jody Lopez-Jacobs, along with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and other top consumer rights law firms co-authored an amicus brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of the National Consumer Law Center, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and various legal aid organizations. This “friend of the court” brief called on the Court, “once again, to protect the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 P.S. §§ 201-1 to 201-9.2 (“UTPCPL”), from narrow, restrictive interpretations that deny consumers the full scope of the remedial relief mandated by the statute.”

“It’s good to see the Court reiterate the importance of a strong consumer protection law to allow consumers to level the playing field when dealing with big business,” said FlitterMilz.

This same group of consumer attorneys co-authored a successful amicus brief in an earlier Supreme Court decision, Gregg v. Ameriprise, in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a Consumer Protection Law claim built on “deceptive” conduct need not prove the intent of the merchant who made the deceptive statement.  Both cases from the Pa Supreme Court move the state’s consumer protection law in the right direction for consumers.

 

Consumer Lawyers Fight to Support Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Drug companies have filed lawsuits in courts across the country challenging the Constitutionality of the new Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022.  Four of these cases were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

NJ Federal Court sides in support of the IRA

On April 29, 2024, the federal court in the first of these New Jersey cases sided with the government and the arguments raised in amicus briefs filed by Flitter Milz attorneys Andy Milz and Jody Lopez-Jacobs, along with lawyers from Public Citizen and other top-notch public interest law firms. The amicus briefs asserted support of the US government’s effort to curb high drug prices.

The federal court issued an opinion dismissing the challenges to the IRA’s drug price cutting measures raised by the big drug companies Bristol Myers Squibb and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.  Our amicus briefs can be found here: Bristol Myers Squibb; Novartis Pharmaceuticals; Novo Nordisk

“We’re gratified by the Court’s ruling in this case and happy to be part of a top-tier team that made it happen,” says Milz.  “Whenever we can help consumers, particularly the elderly, save money on necessities, we consider it a job well done.”

 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

The IRA contains several reforms designed to lower the high cost of prescription drugs and make them more accessible to patients, including seniors enrolled in Medicare. The program relies on a process in which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is responsible for implementing Medicare, and the manufacturer of selected drugs negotiate the prices at which drugs will be made available to Medicare providers and drug plans.

Other such challenges are still in litigation in New Jersey federal court and around the country.

Repossession Class Action Lawsuit Designates Legal Services for cy pres

A recent vehicle repossession class action lawsuit filed in the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Pennsylvania consumers, asserted that repossession notices sent by a Buy-Here, Pay-Here car dealership and its finance company violated the borrower’s consumer rights.  The class action provided for debt forgiveness, credit report correction, and a cash award to all class members.

Cy Pres Award to North Penn Legal Services

Residual funds, which result from uncashed or non-distributable funds to class members, were awarded to North Penn Legal Services (NPLS), a provider of free civil legal assistance to low-income residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania. These funds are designated as cy pres.

NPLS strives to solve civil legal problems and empower vulnerable populations through professional legal representation, advocacy, and education. NPLS will direct the cy pres funds to continue their work in assisting disadvantaged consumers in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Pictured  (l-r): Edward G. Schirra, CFO, and Lori Molloy, Esq. of North Penn Legal Services, and Andy Milz, Esq. of Flitter Milz, P.C.

Experienced Class Action Counsel

Flitter Milz, P.C. is a leading consumer protection law firm that pursues class action lawsuits to help people who have been victim to wrongful repossessions, credit report errors, solar panel financing fraud, unfair collection practices, or other types of consumer fraud. Flitter Milz has been recognized for the pursuit of high-profile cases, often involving complex consumer law issues, that have made law and benefited consumers nationwide. Pictured above: Attorneys Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).

 

Consumer Laws Protects the Military

Flitter Milz Attorneys meet with JAG officers at local bases to discuss Military Consumer Law

This past summer our attorneys visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to educate military lawyers (commonly known as Judge Advocates General or “JAGs”) about common scams targeting servicemembers and how consumer protection laws exist to give our men and women in uniform some measure of relief.

Scams to our Servicemembers

Young and impressionable servicemembers often become targets of scammers.  Factors such as reliable pay checks and great military benefits, as well as being subject to sudden deployment and relocation, make servicemembers easy prey for payday lenders, buy-here-pay-here auto dealers, and sub-prime finance companies.

The Law is on your side

Fortunately, the “Military Lending Act” places caps on interest rates to be charged, mandates certain disclosures, and prohibits the use of arbitration clauses in credit agreements. A violating seller can face punitive damages and having to pay the servicemember’s attorney fees.

 

The “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act” or SCRA provides additional protections. It says a creditor may not take a default judgment against an active servicemember.  SCRA requires a landlord abide protections for leasing rentals to active military, and empowers courts to stay (or temporarily halt) certain foreclosure and repossession proceedings.  The servicemember can also seek damages and their attorney fees for a violation.

Consumer Protection Laws for Servicemembers

Of course, all the other consumer protection laws Flitter Milz, PC routinely uses are also available to servicemembers. We have had military clients utilize the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to remedy errors on their credit profiles that kept them from getting a promotion or security clearance.  Others have used the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to stave-off harassing collection attempts and repos.  Over all, we have helped thousands of consumers get relief from abusive commercial practices.

Seek Legal Help at No Cost

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that assists servicemembers who have become victim to credit reporting privacy and accuracy violations, abuse from debt collectors, and vehicle repossessions by aggressive lenders and repo agents.

If you’re a servicemember who has been exposed to unfair, fraudulent or deceptive conduct by a business, CONTACT US for a no cost consultation.  We may be able to help.

Pictured above:  Attorneys Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).

Solar Fraudsters Target Elderly

Our firm gets a lot of calls from consumers who are senior citizens, or from their children, after they have realized that the “free” solar panel deal they were promised is nothing of the sort.

Maybe the consumer got the first bill from the solar company and wondered “what’s this?” Or, perhaps the consumer tried to sell the home and learned the solar company has a lien on it from a solar installation.  Maybe they’ve only just learned of a 25-year contract with ever-increasing prices because it was sent to a bad email address or one the distraught solar customer never had or used.

Common Deceptive Statements in Solar Sales

Every week, we hear similar complaints from consumers who met with a solar sales representative and felt taken. Statements such as the following may be deceptive or outright false:
– “The salesman said it was a government program to help seniors save money…”
– “The salesman said the panels would be free and wouldn’t cost me anything…”
– “I was told I’d have no more electric bills…”

But that does not stop aggressive door-to-door solar salesmen from using them in their pitch to older consumers.

Were you promised a Federal Solar Tax Credit?

Salespeople are likely to tout a 30% federal solar tax credit (for 2023). Consumers must be careful, this is not cash or a refund, but rather a tax credit to count against the taxes you pay.  Some seniors pay only minimal taxes or no taxes at all (if, for instance, their sole income is Social Security) and may not benefit at all from this promised “government program.”  Other times, the company keeps the tax credit for itself.

Were you told there would be No Upfront Costs?

Salesmen also like to tout a “no cost installation” or “no upfront cost” because this makes it sound like the consumer is getting the solar panels for free.  That is not the case.  With programs like solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs), it is the solar company, not the consumer, who owns the panels that are installed on the roof.

Do I pay for the energy produced by the panels?

While the solar company may not charge upfront for the panels and the installation, the consumer is bound to pay for the energy that’s produced by the panels at ever-increasing rates – sometimes for 25-years or more – forcing some elderly consumers to pay expensive rates until they’re over 100 years old.  All the while, they are still obligated to pay their electric bill.

Why must I sign an i-Pad?

Solar sales can be expensive and burdensome to consumers.  Solar salesmen know this, and that’s why they use electronically displayed and signed contract documents (instead of a paper contract that you hold and keep) with deceptive language to hide the agreement from elderly consumers by using a bum email address or making up an email address that only the sellers control.

Seek Qualified Legal Help

If you’re considering solar, make sure to read all the fine print and demand paper contract documents on the spot before you sign anything.  If a solar company cheated you, CALL US.  We may be able to help.  There is no charge for the consult and if you have a case to bring, the solar company, not the consumer, will pay any legal fees.

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that evaluates solar panel sales matters involving fraud related to forged contracts, identity theft, and credit reporting privacy violations.
Pictured: Attorneys Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).

 

What do I need to know about Auto Repossession?

 

An unexpected illness, loss of employment, or divorce may cause financial hardships that make it difficult for borrowers to maintain payments on an auto loan. While the borrower juggles to keep up with obligations, banks and lenders may take steps to get paid.  In the case of auto loans, the lender may repossess the vehicle without prior notice to the borrower.

Before a Vehicle Repossession

If you anticipate a repossession occurring, evaluate the items left in your vehicle. Although personal property can be retrieved after repossession, items could go missing or be damaged in the process of repossession.

Take steps to protect your possessions:
-Remove all important car purchase and finance documents from the vehicle
-Remove all personal items – car seats, laptops, medications, handbags, etc.
-Note the mileage on the vehicle
-Photograph or Video the condition of your vehicle — interior and exterior.

During the Auto Repossession

-Take note of events during the repossession.
-Videotape/photograph the vehicle and events at the scene.
-Date and time
-Repo Company Name
-Witness names
-Police Officer names & badge #

 

After the Auto Repossession

The lender is required to provide notices to the borrower after the repossession and sale of the vehicle.  These notices are called:

Notice of Intent to Sell Property
The first notice confirms the vehicle was repossessed and informs the borrower of the amount owed and terms to retrieve the vehicle. It will state the vehicle’s location for retrieval of personal property. If the borrower can not meet the terms, the lender will sell the vehicle at an auction or private sale.

Deficiency Notice
Once the vehicle is sold, a second letter is sent to the borrower.  It confirms the selling price of the vehicle and calculates any remaining balance owed to satisfy the loan, including charges for storage and the repossession fee.
If the vehicle sold for more than the amount owed to satisfy the loan, the notice will detail the surplus balance.

Collection of Deficient Auto Loan Balance

The lender may attempt to collect the deficient balance from the borrower or assign the collection to an agency or collection law firm. If the debt is not collected, the lender may choose to file a lawsuit against the borrower.

 

If you have been sued, do not ignore it.

A default judgment could be entered against you. Judgments are dangerous. The lender attempt collection of the judgment through bank attachment, seizure of property, or in many states, wage garnishment.

 

Seek Legal Help from a Qualified Consumer Lawyer

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm experienced in auto repossession law and the pursuit of cases against banks, credit unions, or financial institutions that violated the borrower’s consumer rights. For a no cost consultation,  Contact Us.  We will ask that you gather a copy of your complete signed loan agreement, along with correspondence from the lender sent AFTER the repossession, for the legal review.

 

 

Cosigning a Loan = Risky Business

You might need to consider getting someone to cosign an auto loan if you are unable to qualify for the credit.  Frequently, poor credit or lack of credit history, lack of income, or being able to make a down payment are reasons that a lender would require the borrower to get a cosigner.  But co-signing holds a lot of responsibility…even if you’re doing it for a family member or close friend.

Borrowers need credit approval
The co-signer’s good name and credit history provide additional assurance to the lender that the terms of the loan agreement will be honored with payments being made in full and on time.

 

 


Equal Responsibility for the Loan

Both the co-signer and primary borrower hold equal responsibility for the signed auto loan. When payments are late or missed, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle.  Credit reports for both the borrower and co-signer will list a negative payment history and the repossession.

 

Obligation to Satisfy the Deficient Balance
The lender may contact the co-signer, and/or the primary borrower, after a vehicle has been repossessed. The bank, credit union or financial institution will look to the co-signer to bring the account current or satisfy the loan in full.  Credit scores may drop as a result and impact existing credit, or make it difficult to obtain new credit for both the borrower and co-signer.

Responsibility transfers to co-signer after default
The responsibility for payment of the loan transfers to the co-signer after primary borrower passes away, loses a job, goes through a divorce, files for bankruptcy, or fails to make scheduled payments.

Seek Legal Help from Consumer Law Attorneys

If you have cosigned an auto loan and the vehicle has been repossessed, seek advice from a qualified consumer protection law firm.

Flitter Milz attorneys are nationally recognized consumer protection lawyers that understand vehicle repossession law and how to help the borrowers after a repossession has occurred.  For a no cost consultation, CONTACT US.
Pictured:  Flitter Milz Attorneys
Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right)

Mixed Credit Files…a common problem

Scenarios involving mixed credit files are all too common today.  A mixed credit file, or mis-merged file, can happen when your credit information is commingled with someone else’s on your credit report. For years, the credit bureaus have been told their methods of matching consumer data is fundamentally flawed, but the often-devastating errors keep happening.

TRUE STORY from Flitter Milz
A Flitter Milz client was denied an auto loan for a car, despite having perfect credit.  When he asked the dealership for his credit report, he was shocked to find a negative collection account belonging to his father, who had a similar name, but different date of birth and SSN.  A lawsuit was filed for our client against the collection agency and credit bureaus under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for mixing our client’s file with his dad’s.  A federal court awarded our client $360,000 plus attorneys fees for continuing to report inaccurate information on his credit reports.

Common mixed file scenarios

1) A parent’s account appearing on their child’s credit file.
2) A child’s debt negatively effecting the parent’s good credit.
3) A total stranger’s delinquent auto loan appears on an innocent consumer’s credit report simply because they share a similar name or social security number.
4) John Q. Public’s criminal conviction in Ohio is listed on John T. Public’s employment screening report in New Jersey, preventing John T. Public from getting a job.

The impact of mixed credit files

Mixed credit files can have a serious affect on your life.

Credit Denials: Credit files that have been mixed between one consumer and another can lead to credit denials for an auto loan, mortgage, education or other personal loan.
Employment Denials: Errors like these can also cause you not to get a job, promotional or security clearance.
Housing Denial: You can also be denied housing, if a landlord relied on an inaccurate credit report.

Steps to address Mixed Credit Files

If you have experienced a credit denial due to a mixed or mis-merged credit file take the following steps.

Step 1: Obtain current credit reports
Write to the main credit bureaus — Transunion, Experian, and Equifax — to request a current copy of your reports, or visit annualcreditreport.com.  You may need to provide proof of identity, such as a current driver’s license, utility bill or pay stub to have the reports sent to you.

Step 2:  Review your credit reports for accuracy
Review listings on each report as information may vary from one report to another.  If you do not recognize accounts or if the information is incorrect, you will need to take steps to get the errors corrected.  Common signs of mixed files include:
– Name spelled incorrectly
– Wrong SSN, addresses, or phone numbers
– Wrong employers listed
– Accounts you do not recognize
– Inquiries you don’t recognize
– Public records or judgments from courts in cities you never lived in
– Criminal records that don’t belong to you

Step 3:  Gather denial letters and supporting documents
Collect copies of all denial letters received from creditors, employers, or landlords, and all other documents related to the error.

Step 4: Contact qualified Consumer Law Attorneys

Attorneys Cary Flitter, Andy Milz and Jody López-Jacobs are nationally recognized consumer protection lawyers with experience to evaluate your credit reporting problem. There is no cost for the legal review.  Contact Us Today. Pictured:  Attorneys Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).

Flitter Milz Wins Again Against the Credit Bureaus

Federal court in Philadelphia rules TransUnion must go to trial

On April 11, 2023, the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that a class action case on behalf of consumers against TransUnion may proceed to trial for failing to investigate consumer disputes.

In Norman v. TransUnion, Flitter Milz client Duane Norman alleges that TransUnion failed to investigate his two disputes of an inquiry made on his credit report without permission. As well, he claims that TransUnion, as a company practice, chooses to not investigate disputed inquiries which is in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

In August 2020, the Court decided that Mr. Norman’s case should proceed as a class action for all other consumers across the country who disputed inquiries to TransUnion, only to have TransUnion do nothing in response to their disputes.

In Tuesday’s opinion, the court denied TransUnion’s motion to have the case thrown out on summary judgment before trial.  The court found that there was enough evidence that TransUnion acted willfully in violation of the FCRA, and that the class of consumers represented by our firm can proceed with their claims for punitive damages at trial.

The court reiterated that inquiries (notations on your credit report that show you applied for credit) can be disputed by consumers and TransUnion is obligated by law to investigate those disputes.

Seek Help from a Fair Credit Reporting Lawyer

If you have an inquiry you don’t recognize on your credit report, you should dispute it and request that the credit bureau perform an investigation of your dispute.  If they do not, you may have a case!

Flitter Milz attorneys are nationally recognized consumer protection lawyers with the experience to evaluate your credit reporting problems.

To provide a no cost legal evaluation, we will request a current copy of your credit report coming directly from each of the three main bureaus — Transunion, Experian and Equifax.  As well, we will need documents supporting your claim.

CLICK HERE:  Learn how to Dispute Credit Report Errors Effectively

Pictured above:  Flitter Milz Attorneys
Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right)