Category: Uncategorized

Adam G. Taub quoted in the New York Times

Quoted in the New York Times

“Essentially, the dealers are not selling cars. They are selling bad loans,” said Adam Taub, a lawyer in Detroit who has defended consumers in hundreds of these cases.

This is a great article about having to pay for a lousy car, years down the road.  This is how lenders steal wealth from consumers.  The best defense is to make informed decisions about credit.

Q: Are you buying a car or a loan? (Part 1)

The first thing you need to do when you set out to buy a car is to shop for price.  And no, I am not talking about “monthly payment.”  Never, ever, ever, ever, shop for a car on the basis of monthly payment.  Never mention monthly payment to any salesperson or finance manager.  At the outset, you need to familiarize yourself with THE CASH PRICE OF THE VEHICLE, even if you ultimately plan to finance.  There are many ways to do this without setting foot on a car lot and I recommend not setting foot on a car lot until you have educated yourself.  I cannot stress how important it is for you to understand that you are buying two things:  a car and a loan.  There is a price tag for the car and a price tag for the loan. When you start talking about monthly payments, you are not looking at the price tag for either one and, under these circumstances, the dealer will cheat you.  That is the dealer’s job; to trick you or wear you down so that you will make an ill-informed decision about the value of the vehicle and the cost of the loan.  So, first, you need to nail down the cash price of the vehicle.

Go online.  Find the car that suits you.  Start looking at various makes and models from different years, with different mileages.  Figure out what these cars are selling for in your area.  You can use many resources to determine this.  I usually go to Kelley Blue Book. But there are many other places you can look.  The point is to know the range of prices.  You will see a consistency.  If you see a vehicle priced significantly lower than most similar vehicles, it’s probably a wreck or a bait and switch.  Avoid those vehicles.

Spending an hour or so online will prove invaluable.  The goal is to find five or six cars that you like and that you can go look at, and to know the cash price range of these vehicles.  PRINT OUT THE ADS!!!! Make sure that your ads contain the VIN of each vehicle and the cash price.

Please note:  I have not discussed financing or monthly payments.  And I will not do so for a bit longer.

Can I Sue a Debt Collector?

I get a lot of calls from consumers who want to know whether they can sue a debt collector, even if they owe the debt?  The Answer is, “Yes.”  However, you cannot bring a meritorious claim against a debt collector simply because it is trying to collect a debt.  This is why, if you think you are the victim of debt collector abuse, debt collector harassment, or misleading statements from a debt collector, you should call an attorney right away who can assess your potential claims.

At this firm, we sue debt collectors and we look for violations of both state and federal law.  It does not matter whether you owe the debt or not.  The law protects you from debt collector abuse, debt collector harassment, or misleading statements from a debt collector.

I recommend that you save all of your collection letters in a folder and save any voice messages you receive from debt collectors.  A qualified consumer rights lawyer should be able to sit down with you, at no charge, and review your letters and recordings.

Today, I read a collection letter that was misleading which was brought to me by a former client.  As soon as I get done writing this, I will begin drafting a lawsuit against the debt collector.

One word of caution:  I see a lot of people trying to handle these types of cases without an attorney. Usually, this is in the context of trying to defend a debt collection lawsuit.  This method hardly ever works.  If you are being sued, you need to get an attorney for that matter.  If the lawsuit involves a debt for which you have been the victim of debt collector abuse, debt collector harassment, or misleading statements from a debt collector, these bad acts need to be treated separately from the claims regarding the underlying debt.

 

Debt Collection Lawsuits – recent trends

a lawyer in his office showing a document with the text lawsuit written in it
a lawyer in his office showing a document with the text lawsuit written in it

We’ve been getting a lot of calls recently from people who were sued several years ago.  In many cases, these consumers did not retain an attorney, and instead tried to handle the matter themselves.  What resulted was a judgment — by either consent or default.  In almost every case, I ask these callers, “Why didn’t you get an attorney?”  The most common answers are:

a) I didn’t think I could afford an attorney; b) I read on the internet that I could represent myself and beat the collection agency in court; or c) I owed the money, seemed like a lost cause.

Being sued is a serious matter.  Without an attorney, you will most likely waive any good defenses or counter-claims, miss deadlines, and have a judgment against you before you know what’s happening.  And giving up and allowing the debt collectors to take a judgment against you can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

The good news is that there are firms, like this one, which represent consumers.  We make it so you can afford to pay us and we strive to get you the best results possible.  In some cases, we can get the entire case dismissed.  In others, we have been able to negotiate settlements which save our clients thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars.

If you are being sued by a bank, debt collector, credit company, debt buyer, or other corporation, do not go it alone.  Give us a call.

 

Q: Are you buying a car or a loan? (Introduction)

Car_AccidentsA:  Both!  This is why you need to understand how to shop for both cars and loans.

Consumers generally do not understand how credit works. Take the time to find out the price tag of the car AND the price tag of the loan.  I am going to be discussing the process for buying cars on credit.  There’s a way to do this that will prevent you from getting ripped off.  I hope to do this in short, easily digestible pieces that will not put you to sleep.

In the meantime, if you are a consumer who is being sued for any reason, harassed or threatened by a debt collector, or defamed by a credit reporting agency, contact my office.  We represent only individuals.  We do not represent corporations.

 

Debt Collection Abuse: What do I do about an abusive debt collector?

Upset man holding credit card with laptop on background

We get a lot of calls from consumers about abusive debt collectors and debt collection harassment, intimidation, and threats of arrest or seizure.  Many people do not know how to handle this type of situation and there is not much understanding — even amongst attorneys or within society at large — that debt collection is a highly regulated industry.

Debt collectors must follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §1692 et seq. (“FDCPA”) This law protects consumers from all manner of lies, abuse, intimidation, shaming, defaming, and other acts and scummy behavior.  It is a good law that protects all of us as individuals.  The FDCPA is a relatively short and easy-to-read statute, but please note:  the FDCPA is NOT a defense to the underlying debt.  You may well have a claim against a debt collector for a violation of the FDCPA: this does not, in and of itself, extinguish any debt you might owe.

The Ripoff du Jour here is this:  there are hundreds of scam debt collectors out there.  DO NOT PAY an alleged debt collector with a credit card over the phone or by Western Union!  In many cases, the scammer will threaten arrest, violence, immediate seizure of property, or threaten to serve the consumer with a lawsuit at her workplace. People get so scared that they often make a payment, even though there is no legitimate underlying debt.   I had one client who recorded a collector threatening to foreclose on her home.  When she said that she lived in an apartment, the scammer told her that he was going to foreclose on the apartment complex.  Threats of arrest, service of lawsuits at work, seizure of cars etc. are usually indicative of a scam.  These charlatans are usually hard to track down, so you should report this activity immediately to the FTC, the CFPB, and the Michigan Attorney General.

So, to answer the question which is the title of this post, “What do I do about an abusive debt collector?” the answer is,  1) save all voice mails; 2) save all letters from the debt collector or collectors including the envelopes; and 3) call my office, (248) 746-3790. The consultation is free.

One final point:  if you get sued, do not ignore the lawsuit.  Call my office, (248) 746-3790, right away.  Do not go to court without a lawyer.  You will lose.  On the other hand, I have defended consumers against credit card companies, debt buyers, and and sub-prime lenders and I have saved them thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.

 

Introduction to Ripoff du Jour

photo-2013

Credit information form

Well.

In the wake of the recent national election which is sure to bring about the swift demise of the CFPB and set consumer protection law back 50 years (if we’re lucky), I thought it might be a good idea to start a blog about consumer finance, common scams, and how to keep from getting cheated, defamed and harassed by unscrupulous lenders, false credit reporting, and abusive debt collectors.

As a consumer advocate and litigation attorney, my goal is to help people understand consumer credit and personal wealth.  Another goal is to expose common ripoffs that are occurring in Michigan in the hope that less people will get cheated.

Much of what I plan to discuss here will be based on the hundreds of calls I get each month from people who have been taken advantage of.  In many cases, because Michigan is one of the worst states for consumers, I cannot represent these people because the law has been gutted to prevent consumers from suing for fraud.

Most people cannot believe that consumer rights in Michigan are as terrible as they are until they get cheated.  When these consumers call my office, they are shocked and saddened to find out that the Michigan Supreme Court gutted consumer law in the year 2000, and in spite of many attempts to fix this, legislators have failed to do so. Consumer advocates have to find creative ways to fight for their clients, staying one step ahead of the banks and insurance companies who pull the strings that make the politicians move.

When unscrupulous companies are allowed to cheat people without consequence, honest companies cannot compete and they go out of business.  This is where we are at right now in Michigan.  We deserve better.

Adam G. Taub quoted in the Detroit News. Another consumer fights back against a scam lender.

Upset man holding credit card with laptop on background

The consequences of not understanding credit can be miserable.

This article discusses scam lenders who cheat desperate consumers.  This epidemic of fast-money, payday, and title loans is brought to you by politicians who view their constituents as banks, Fortune 500 corporations, and insurance companies.

These terrible loans are bad for the economy and they are bad for you.  You might be saying to yourself, “What do I care?  How does this effect me?  If someone is stupid or desperate enough to take out one of these loans, that’s their problem, not mine, right?”  Not really.  If your neighbor can’t fix a leaky roof, buy a lawn mower, or pay for school supplies, it directly affects your quality of life.  As more and more people in your area are forced into economic servitude, paying exorbitant and usurious interest on loans for decades, your neighborhood suffers.  Your city suffers.  Your churches and schools suffer because the wealth of the community is being squeezed out by unscrupulous lenders. When your neighbor buys a new roof or your church gets a new lawn mower, you benefit.  When half of your neighbor’s wages go to pay interest, that money cannot be reinvested anything that benefits you or your family.

These loans are immoral and illegal.   The best way for us to combat this type of rip-off is to make sure we take the time to understand how credit works and to hold our leaders accountable to consumers.