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Minnesota Consumer Rights Blog

Minnesota's attorney general sues Comcast for deceptive practices

The Minnesota attorney general (AG) filed a lawsuit against the telecommunications giant Comcast in late December in Hennepin County District Court on behalf of state residents. In her Dec. 21 filing, she accused them of having violated both the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA)and the Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act (PCFA).

There are many reason that she was motivated to sue Comcast.

A debt collector is harassing me: What should I do?

Harassment by a debt collector can be very inconvenient and psychologically destabilizing. If you're being harassed by a person or business that wants to collect money you allegedly owe, it's time to familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This helpful piece of federal legislation protects consumers from unfair harassment.

One of the most important parts of the FDCPA states that you can tell a creditor or collection agency to stop contacting you and the agency must abide by the request. To do this, you'll need to send a letter in writing to the debt collector and tell them to stop trying to call you. After receipt of this letter, as a matter of law, the debt collector cannot reach out to you unless it's to communicate a plan to take legal action or to confirm that the attempts to contact you will end.

Here's what debt collectors are not allowed to do

Imagine you're sitting down to a beautiful meal with your family when the phone rings. You go against your better judgment and answer the call, thinking that it could be the job you recently applied to, when -- low and behold -- it's the aggressive debt collector whom you specifically told not to call you again. The inconvenient time of the call and the aggressive nature of the debt collector has really ruined your day.

If you're being harassed by debt collectors, you might want to familiarize yourself with the activities that are unlawful under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law protects consumers from the following actions related to debt collection:

  • No calls late at night or early in the morning. Debt collectors should follow the assumption that calling someone before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. is not "convenient" and they should refrain from doing so.
  • No calls to your job if you tell the collector that you're not allowed to receive these kinds of calls at your workplace. A debt collector cannot cause problems for you at your job by calling and harassing you while you're supposed to be on duty.
  • No calls directly to you if you have secured representation from a lawyer. Having a lawyer on your side can help tremendously as it will relieve you of the burden of needing to speak with the debt collector and your attorney could also help you negotiate your debt.
  • No calls to others regarding your debt.
  • No calls to your family members.
  • No calls to you if you send a note in writing that you don't wish to be contacted any further.

Learn about two types of wrongful repossession

If you've taken out a loan secured by a piece of property, the owner of your debt can repossess this property in the event that you default on the loan. This repossession process, however, must follow specific rules.

Failure to adhere to these rules on the part of the creditor will result in a "wrongful repossession." As the victim of a wrongful repossession, you might be able to get your property back.

The repossession man cannot 'breach the peace' to take your car

We've all heard stories about the repo man, and if you've defaulted on your auto loan, you could be in danger of having this person pay a visit to your home. In fact, in the case of most car loans, if you fail to pay the monthly payments, the owner of your debt has the right to send someone to repossess your property. However, you will have certain rights when dealing with the repo man. For example, repossessors cannot "breach the peace" when trying to take your property back.

In this context, breaching the peace refers to several things. The repossession man cannot come onto your property and access a locked area without your permission. If you leave your garage door open, the repo man can enter your garage and take your vehicle away. If your garage door is locked, on the other hand, the individual cannot break into your property.

5 types of credit card fraud

With cash is being used less frequently, credit card fraud is more rampant than ever, and it's important for American consumers to be on the lookout, so they don't risk becoming a victim of consumer fraud related to their credit cards.

Here are five of the most common types of credit card fraud to watch out for in this regard:

Fake charities: Avoiding a common type of consumer fraud

It seems like consumers have every opportunity to get duped or defrauded on a daily basis. In fact, it can be difficult to keep track of the many types and varieties of scams that fraudsters use to deceive us. One of the most common types of fraudulent schemes is known as a "fake charity."

Let's take a closer look at the fake charity scam so you can avoid becoming a victim of this fraud during the holiday season.

What laws protect me from invasions of privacy?

Everyone is talking about their right to privacy in the internet age, but do Americans really know their legal rights in this respect? Learning about your privacy rights — and what the government, businesses and other individuals can and cannot do with your information — is an important first step to ensure your privacy is secure.

In fact, there are numerous federal laws that protect American citizens from privacy breaches. These include the following commonly breached laws:

Examples of unfair actions by debt collectors

In the United States, many people use debt as a consistent way to make purchases. They buy homes with mortgage loans and take out more loans to buy cars. They borrow money to start businesses or go to college. When they budget, it's less about how much they can afford overall and more about how many monthly payments fit into their budget.

However, circumstances sometimes conspire to make those payments impossible. Someone budgets for the monthly payments and then loses their job, for instance, making all of the payments completely unaffordable.

Am I in danger of a vehicle repossession?

As soon as you discover you can't make your car payment or some other kind of secured loan payment, you should act swiftly. You need to do whatever you can to reduce the risk of having your property repossessed. One or two missed payments could be enough to put you on the list of a debt collector.

What if I don't care if my property gets repossessed?

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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Contact The Consumer Justice Center P.A.

Consumer Justice Center P.A.
367 Commerce Court
Vadnais Heights, MN 55127

Toll Free: 800-556-6752
Phone: 612-200-1495
Fax: 651-704-0907
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