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Minnesota Consumer Rights Blog

What is considered as false advertising?

'Tis the season for false advertising? That's right! Black Friday is right around the corner. Year-end car sales will start being advertised on television, the radio, online and in the newspaper soon as well. The holiday season is just one time during the year during which consumers are vulnerable to falling victim to false advertising.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires advertisers to do one thing, which is to be truthful to consumers. The federal agency expects any claims that a company makes about their products or services to be verifiable.

A woman sues over inaccurate credit report information

Each year, many consumers find out that they're not going to be able to reach their financial goals of owning a car or home or taking out a loan because their credit score isn't what it needs to be to make this happen. One elderly Florida man recently learned this lesson all too well. He found out that his credit report contained adverse information about someone else when he attempted to take out a $125,000 loan to care for his dying wife. His daughter is now suing the credit bureaus Experian and Equifax on his behalf for this.

The situation that the Florida man found himself in is, unfortunately, not all that uncommon. Each of the three leading credit bureaus has ended up settling with 30 different states' attorney generals in the past few years. TransUnion, Experian and Equifax all agreed to devise strategies for making sure that individuals who are indeed alive aren't listed as dead on their credit reports. They also agreed to disclose when they identified any mixed files.

Why does wrongful repossession happen?

When an asset gets repossessed, it's stressful enough even if you understand why it's happening. If you don't make your mortgage payments and they start to foreclose on your house, you know why you reached this point, but it still puts incredible pressure on you and your family. You can imagine how much worse this is when you have no idea why they're trying to repossess the asset in the first place.

For instance, maybe the tow truck shows up at your house and they begin to load up your car. While you did buy it with a loan -- you don't own it outright -- you have also been making your payments. There's no reason for you to lose your car, it's a hassle you do not have time and energy to deal with, and it's going to drastically upset your life. You may find it impossible to go to work, for instance, so that you can earn the paycheck that makes those payments possible in the first place.

6 common mistakes found in credit reports

There are many reasons to review your credit report regularly, with the potential to pinpoint a mistake at the top of your list.

It's difficult enough to obtain and maintain a good or excellent credit score without a mistake (or several) on your credit report. But if one of these is present, it could hold you back from reaching a high score that can benefit your finances in a variety of ways.

What laws exist to protect consumers in Minnesota?

There are various consumer laws in place here in Minnesota that aim to protect state residents from companies that look to create monopolies. There is also legislation on the books that protect Minnesotans from falling victim to deceptive business owners. Other laws provide consumers with a clear path for taking legal action against any negligent parties that offer a service or manufacture a product that causes them harm as well.

One piece of legislation that protects Minnesota car buyers from being defrauded is the state's lemon law. This provides consumers with an opportunity to either have their new car replaced or the purchase price refunded if it is proven to be in a state of disrepair.

Feds: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act wasn't violated

Plaintiffs in Illinois, who'd previously filed suit in U.S. district court accusing the owners of a medical marketing company of violating their rights by sending them text messages lost their Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case last week. A judge ruled that the defendants didn't violate any laws in sending medical marketing texts as they didn't utilize an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) to source the numbers that the messages were sent to.

The federal judge presiding over the case in the Northern District of Illinois wrote in his summary judgment that text messaging systems have to be capable of sequentially or randomly generating phone numbers to be considered as an ATDS. The judge noted that the platform that was utilized in the Illinois case Smith v. Premier Dermatology did not qualify as an ATDS and he was, therefore, entering summary judgment for the defendant.

What's being done to minimize wrongful repossessions?

Software and app developers have been hard at work during the past few years developing mobile technology aimed at curbing wrongful repossession (repo) rates of vehicles. One of the standout programs that has emerged from all of their hard work is a mobile platform that allows lenders to relay the latest loan default data to repossession agents.

One company, American Lending Solutions (ALS) Resolvion, a skip-tracing company, has pioneered efforts to come up with such a real-time data platform. It allows any repo drivers to log-in to their mobile devices to check on a car owner's loan payment progress in real-time before they hook up and tow away a vehicle.

What should you say to a debt collector who calls you?

If you have some type of past-due debt (and even if you don't), you could hear from a debt collector.

A phone call from a debt collector can catch you off guard, making it difficult to respond in the appropriate manner. Fortunately, when you have a plan for what you want to say, it's much easier to combat anything that comes your way.

The Federal Trade Commission sues Match.com for fraud

The dating app company Match.com was sued for fraud earlier this week by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The company, which owns several other popular relationships apps such as Tindr, PlentyofFish, Hinge and OkCupid is accused of having defrauded its users into believing that they were communicating with others looking for romance. They were communicating with bots instead.

In its suit, the FTC describes how Match.com's leadership ignored the overwhelming evidence that scammers were using their apps. In its filing, the FTC outlined how as much as 30% of its new registrants in March of this year were known scammers. Many of them had a goal of advertising to or extorting from unsuspecting daters.

How do debt collectors get their money?

When a debt collector contacts you via phone, it's natural to have some fears about what will happen in the future.

Before you do anything, you should learn more about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In short, this act is in place to govern debt collectors to ensure that they don't use unfair, abusive or deceptive practices to collect debts.

Get Answers To Your Questions

Contact the Consumer Justice Center. Tommy Lyons can speak with you in a free initial consultation arranged at 800-556-6752, toll free, or by email from wherever you are in the U.S.

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