Consumer protection laws cover a broad range of state and federal programs designed to protect individual consumers from predatory and fraudulent actions by businesses. At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, our lawyers are well versed in the most common consumer protection laws including the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Oregon Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act and Unlawful Trade Practices Act.
Government agencies enforce some of these protections but many of them authorize “private rights of action.” A private right of action allows a consumer wronged by a business practice or tactic to strike back and seek damages for the improper actions. Our lawyers can help you protect yourself and bring this private right of action – not only to recover damages but as a deterrent to prevent future abuses by the offending business.
Combat Consumer Collection Abuses
Stories of debt collection techniques run the gamut from threats of jail time to potential exposure of private financial information to employers, friends and relatives. Collectors employing these types of practices often see greater success when they bully debtors and flaunt regulations; they do it because they think no one will stand up to them. Michael D. O’Brien and Associates will stand up for you. Congress enacted The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as a nationwide program to combat collection abuses like those listed above and provide guidelines on the methods a collector can use. These regulations include providing a method for dispute of improperly asserted debts, regulation of legal statements concerning the collection of debts and providing a relief valve from constant collection contacts by retaining an attorney. If you have been subjected to these kinds of tactics, contact us to discuss your options for protection.
Even when consumers are fully compliant in paying their bills, sometimes creditors fail to properly process payments or properly connect a debt with the right borrower. These inaccuracies can cause extensive damage to the credit of that consumer, limiting their ability to purchase assets like cars and homes and affecting their ability to rent apartments and homes. Congress created the Fair Credit Reporting Act as a method to challenge these credit reporting inaccuracies. Challenging improper credit reporting is easier than ever with online dispute tools available from all three major credit bureaus. However, even with these dispute mechanisms, creditors can be careless and dismissive of challenges. At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates our lawyers have experience bringing lawsuits against credit reporting agencies and the creditor who refused to clean up inaccurate information.
Giving Consumers a Tool For Redress
Homeownership is the American dream, but occasionally creditors can make it a nightmare. Improper imposition of force-placed home insurance without notice, improper application of mortgage payments and rapid switching of servicers are only a few of the problems that can plague homeowners. Once there is a problem, the cascade of improper late fees, home inspection fees and legal fees can rapidly spiral out of control. When homeowners attempt to call to correct the problems with their mortgages, they have to traverse a veritable call hierarchy labyrinth with limited access to someone who can make a difference. Congress recognized the difficulties inherent in correcting mortgage problems by enacting the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to give consumers a tool for redress. The most common tool we utilizes is the Qualified Written Request, a method by which a homeowner can obtain copies of the creditors payment and fee history to investigate improper charges and challenge them for redress.
We Will Help Navigate Federal Programs
Navigating all of these federal programs can seem daunting and out of reach for many consumers. Luckily, most of these programs have tools to compensate advocates for bringing successful claims. At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, we take our client’s rights seriously and seek to find the simplest path to full resolution, be that through negotiation or litigation. With all the tools in our toolbox and over 25 combined years of legal experience, we stand ready to help fix any collection or credit problems. Why not stop the harassment today with a free consultation?