Articles Posted in consumer protection

According to a Wall Street Journal report this week, the Justice Department is investigating numerous big banks over minorities paying higher interest rates for auto loans.  The practice, known as “redlining,” or charging people different interest rates based on race, is not only immoral, it is illegal.

Auto loans are an $800 billion industry.  Most auto loans that end up in the hands of big banks start at the dealership.  Dealerships make more money by selling the higher interest loans to banks, and banks make more money from the customer by charging more interest.  The dealerships may be the ones setting up the lending, but the banks also benefit from the discrimination, so the law expects banks to use reasonable measures to make sure the dealers sending them loans are not discriminating.

Consider the following modest example.  A person borrowing $15,000 to buy a car at 6% for 5 years will pay $290/month.  If someone with the same credit and income but a different race is charged 9% interest for 5 years, it will be $311/month.  That $21/month extra comes out to $1,260 more paid for the same car by the person of color with the higher interest rate.  You can imagine how much more someone has to pay when they are charged 10%, 15% or even 18% interest on a car.

After receiving repeated phone calls on my cell phone in the last few weeks from a British Columbia, Canada number, I started doing a little research on robocalls on cell phones. These annoying phone calls cost you time, money and energy and I knew they are and should be illegal.

In truth, they are. Autodialed calls and robocalls can violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA provides wide protection against robocalls, calls using automatic dialers, and automated messages. For the most part, the TCPA comes into play when debt collectors make collection calls to consumer cell phones. If a debt collector makes impermissible robocalls to a consumer’s cell phone, the debt collector is liable for $500 per call. If it can be proven that the calls are willful, the damages are $1,500 per call.

It does not matter whether the caller is attempting to collect a valid debt, although it is much more annoying when the autodialer and robocalls are coming to the wrong person. The litigation regarding these calls include hundreds of phone calls made to someone’s cell phone after his roommate listed the number as an emergency contact number, phone calls to someone’s cell phone looking for the previous owner of that phone number, and repeated phone calls from a computer to someone’s phone number.

Flammable clothing and bedding can cause serious burns and death.   Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 4,000 people per year suffer severe clothing-related burn injuries.  Fatalities from clothing igniting are estimated to total about 150 annually. (See www.cpsc.gov).

In some cases, a lawsuit may be filed against the fabric manufacturer, distributor or retailer where the clothing or fabric was purchased if the clothing causing the injuries is highly flammable or otherwise unsafe.  In such an action the victim must prove:

– the clothing was defective and/or dangerous because it was unusually or highly flammable;

Tis the season! As we celebrate the season of Christmas, many of us purchase toys and gifts for those we love, especially children.

Care should be given, however, to insure that the toys we give those we love are safe. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) recalls millions of toys every year. Even in this day and age, toys are still being released that are dangerous to adults and children alike.

In 2012, Take Justice Back published its list of the 10 Most Dangerous Toys of All Times. (http://www.takejusticeback.com/news/10-most-dangerous-toys-all-time) The toys on the danger list contain new favorites (CSI Investigation Kits and Hannah Montana kits) plus some old classics (atomic kits and Cabbage Patch Dolls).

Contact Information