How to Use this Resource

We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

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.

What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is an agency of the United States government that is responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector. Their jurisdiction includes banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, mortgage-servicing operations, foreclosure relief services, debt collectors, and other financial companies operating in the United States.

The CFPB’s creation was authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, whose passage in 2010 was a legislative response to the financial crisis of 2007-08 and the subsequent Great Recession.

The CFPB aims to make consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole. They protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law. By providing information, steps and tools, their goal is to help people make smart financial decisions.

Contact the CFPB concerning an issue with a financial product or service:

  • By Mail: CFPB, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, IA 52244
  • Online: www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint
  • Phone: 855-411-2372
  • Fax: 855-237-2392
  • Facebook: @CFPB
  • Twitter: @CFPB
  • U.S. Senate:  senate.gov
  • U.S. House of Representatives:  house.gov

 

Spend Your Gift Card before Delaware Takes It

The state of Delaware could confiscate your gift cards’ unused balances if you wait too long to use them

Delaware state laws allow for expired or dormant gift card balances to be turned over to the state. Gift cards that haven’t been used for five years or those that have expired are considered “abandoned property.”

Consumer lawyer Cary Flitter, with the Philadelphia law firm Flitter Milz, said, “Customers can protect themselves from having their cards confiscated by learning the expiration dates. Consumers should read the disclosure on the card or jacket it comes with. The burden should be on the seller, but there is a little bit of buyer beware that helps the consumer from losing the gift card’s funds.”

Under Delaware’s escheatment or unclaimed property laws, the holder of that abandoned property – the retailers who issued the cards – is required to report to Delaware when the funds have become abandoned and turn them over to the state.

Typically, most states have laws to collect abandoned property or funds when someone passes away without any heirs.  But only about half the states include gift cards.

 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Successful Cases Helping Consumers

Since the formation of the CFPB in 2010, the Bureau has taken on the biggest banks, including those that open thousands of phony accounts, payday lenders that charge 200% or more in interest, abusive debt collectors, the credit bureaus, student loan servicers, and other irresponsible lenders.

The CFPB’s success has been undeniable in getting these entities to clean up their practices and refrain from abusing and overcharging consumers. The CFPB has recovered nearly $12 billion from these financial institutions to redress these abuses, making the CFPB one of the most efficient government agencies.

CFPB Success stories – helping all Americans.

  • 9/11 Victims:  Predatory lending to first responders.
  • Wells Fargo customers: Phony consumer accounts opened unknowingly by Wells Fargo employees.
  • Prepaid debit card users: RushCard denied customers access to their money through system failure.
  • Auto Lending Discrimination: CFPB and Department of Justice resolve action with American Honda Finance Corp. for discriminatory practices placing auto loans which resulted in African-American, Hispanic, and Asian and Pacific Islander borrowers paying higher interest rates than white borrowers for their auto loans.
  • Mortgage Lending & Servicing Deception: Ocwen took advantage of borrowers at every stage of the mortgage servicing process.

Seek Legal Help from a Consumer Protection Law Firm

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm  representing victims of wrongful car repossessions, debt collection abuse, credit reporting privacy & accuracy violations, and unwanted robocalls.   Contact Us to discuss whether your consumer rights have been violated.  There is No Cost for the consultation.

Was Your Car Repossessed? Follow These Steps.

Whether you are behind on payments or not, the lender must follow a number of rules before and after a car is repossessed. These rules detail how and when they can initiate car repossession, what kind of notices must be given, and how any auction or private sale must be handled.

If any rules were overlooked during or after the repossession of your vehicle, you may be able to take legal action against the lender or car repossessor, even if you were behind on payments. If your car or motorcycle was recently repossessed, do the following.

Confirm the Repossession 

Call the lender or local police department to confirm that the vehicle was repossessed and not stolen. Ask for details, such as which repossession company called the police and when.

Gather Repo Documents

Gather all purchase, loan, and repossession documents. These include your car purchase agreement, retail installment sales contract, notice of intent to sell property, deficiency notice, loan payment history, and any collection letters claiming a deficient balance is owed.

You should receive a Notice of Intent to Sell Property from the lender after your vehicle is repossessed. This notice explains how you can retrieve the vehicle, how much you must pay, the location of the vehicle, and the time and location of a private sale or auction. You should receive this notice before the vehicle is sold at private sale or auction with enough time for you to get the car back.

The lender must also provide a notice that confirms the sale price after a vehicle is sold, called a Deficiency Notice. If the sale price does not pay off the balance that is owed on the loan, you will owe the remaining balance, even if the vehicle was voluntarily given back.

Don’t Sign a Waiver

Do not sign any waiver or release agreement to get your vehicle back. Signing a waiver could negate any legal claim for wrongful actions by the lender. The law does not require you to sign documents to retrieve your vehicle, even if the repo agent or storage yard asks for one.

Get Legal Help

If you believe your vehicle was wrongfully repossessed, gather all of your documents and contact Flitter Milz for a free evaluation of your case.

8 Steps to Better Credit

Your credit report isn’t just for loans anymore! Job offers, promotions, security clearances, and insurance quotes are now routinely affected by your credit report or other types of consumer reports.

Follow these steps to rebuild and improve your credit.

Request Current Credit Reports

You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, every twelve months under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and more often if you are the victim of identity theft or on public assistance. Request your credit report regularly and check that all information is accurate.

Address Any Credit Inaccuracies

Credit report errors are fairly common. If there is inaccurate information on your credit report, it’s important that you address it. Write and dispute directly with the bureaus. Include a current copy of the report with your dispute. It will be helpful to highlight the disputed item. Your dispute letter should briefly state why this item is listed incorrectly. Attach any supporting documentation that illustrates your claim. Send your letter to the credit bureau by Certified Mail, Return Receipt.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute. If the bureaus don’t correct the error, you may need to send a second dispute.  Be sure to keep copies of all dispute correspondence.

Pay Bills in Full and on Time

Falling behind on payments will have a negative impact on your credit history. Always pay your bills in full and by the date listed on the statement or invoice.

Review Current Accounts

Pay down balances on existing credit cards or loans and pay off delinquent accounts. Be strategic about closing cards; consider keeping cards that you’ve had for a long time that show a consistent payment history and consider closing those with high interest. You should only maintain credit accounts that you can afford.

Maintain Stable Employment

A lapse in employment history can harm your credit. A high debt to income ratio will also negatively impact your credit history.

Do Not Max-out Credit Cards

Part of your credit score is based on your credit utilization, or the percentage of your available credit you use. Never use the maximum amount of available credit. Doing so will hurt your credit score. It’s best to not exceed fifty percent of your available credit.

Do Not Co-sign Loans

When you agree to cosign on a loan, you are liable for payment of the loan, despite any side agreement you may have with the other borrower. If the borrower defaults, you will be responsible for making payments. Co-signing brings a significant risk that you likely don’t want to take on as you rebuild your credit.

Building Credit Takes Time and Discipline

Remember that you must be responsible with credit. Always pay on time and maintain the terms of the credit agreement.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting problems, harassment from debt collectors, and wrongful vehicle repossessions.  Whether you fell behind on payments or not, the credit bureau, debt collector and lender must follow the law.  Contact us for a free legal review to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.