Consumer Protection Laws and Information

At Bond & Botes, P.C., we work with a variety of people who have fallen on financial hard times and, in some cases, need to file for bankruptcy. Of all the financial problems we encounter, few compare to being caught in the trap of payday lending. We believe that the state of Alabama is not doing enough to protect our citizens from the predatory payday loan industry, and we are working to make our voices heard. We’ve created a petition to demand that our state legislators take concrete action to reform payday loans in our state. What Is a Payday…Read   More

Want free groceries?  If so, on April 5th Winn Dixie is replacing its Fuel Perks program with Winn-Dixie Reward + Plenti.  Customers will be able to earn points buying groceries at Winn-Dixie or spending money at any Plenti reward partner.  You can earn points by: Switching to AT&T Buying gasoline at any Exxon or Mobile station Buying goods at Macy’s and many other online retailers Dining out at participating local restaurants The Plenti reward program was launched by American Express.  For every 1,000 points your earn you receive $10 or more.  There are two ways to earn points:  1) shopping…Read   More

According to a recent article by the Montgomery Advertiser, 45 Alabama legislators are pushing a bill that would give the power to the people of Alabama to vote on whether payday loan interest rates in Alabama should be capped at 36% Interest Rates Out of Control A bi-partisan group of legislators and payday reform advocacy groups gathered at the Alabama State House last Tuesday to introduce the bill that would allow Alabamians to vote on a constitutional amendment that would cap payday loan interest rates at 36%. Currently, the average rate for payday loans is 300%, with a maximum possible rate…Read   More

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report outlining the regulatory agency’s effort to address issues within the credit reporting market. Some of those efforts include correcting data accuracy at credit reporting companies, repairing the broken dispute procedures, and cleaning up certain information being reported by furnishers. Still, the main takeaway is this: the information being submitted by furnishers (banks and non-banks alike) and maintained by credit reporting agencies (companies like Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) is not always accurate. Inaccurate Credit Reports Harm Consumers This has serious credit implications for consumers. Reports sold by three of the…Read   More

Do you have a secret bank account or credit card?  Have you hidden purchases from your significant other?  An article on CNBC this week says a recent survey by the website creditcard.com found just over one quarter of the approximately 1,000 people they surveyed had a secret bank account and/or credit card.  The survey found that older Americans were more likely to have the secret bank accounts or credit cards and nearly 40% of baby boomers made secret purchases of $500.00 or more.   A splurge purchase of $500.00 or more can devastate a budget in many households.  Does your family have…Read   More

We all have gotten the calls…..your phone rings and normally you wouldn’t answer an unknown number. But this call caught you off guard or maybe it was a number very similar to one you are familiar with. You answer with “Hello” or some other greeting and then an automated voice identifies a business or agency. After the brief intro, the recording will ask: “Can you hear me clearly?” How would most of us answer? Of course, we would say “Yes” and that’s it! Your voice may have just been recorded by a scammer who could plan on using your affirmative…Read   More

The fallout continues from Wells Fargo’s settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over the bank’s fake account scandal. Last September, federal regulators announced that Wells Fargo employees created upwards of 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customer approval. The settlement included $185 million dollars in fines—the largest ever issued by the regulatory agency. Not long after the settlement came to light, California’s state treasurer announced a suspension of business dealings with Wells Fargo citing a lack of public trust in the bank. Although Wells Fargo has made attempts to save its public image (firing thousands of…Read   More

Last fall, Wells Fargo admitted it had created over 2 million phony accounts as a result of an incentives program that rewarded employees who increased their sales numbers. Some employees who tried to report these wrong activities were retaliated against and fired. Wells Fargo says that they have now learned that some of these whistleblower reports do have merit.  As a result, they have hired a third party to review claims by current and former employees who had called the ethics line and were terminated or had received a “corrective action” in their employee file within twelve months. Wells Fargo…Read   More

I previously blogged about the issues that led ITT Technical Institute to close its doors and file for bankruptcy.  Now, five former ITT students have filed a class action complaint against ITT in its bankruptcy proceeding.  The class action is filed on behalf ITT students who were harmed by ITT’s conduct.  Lawyers from the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School filed the adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy case, which is being overseen by Judge James Carr in the Southern District of Indiana. In addition to alleging violations of consumer protection statutes and breach of contract, the former…Read   More

Yet again there is more fallout from the Wells Fargo phony account scandal.  Numerous media outlets from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal are reporting a new scandal linked to Wells Fargo. In addition to the initial congressional investigation concerning phony accounts (see here and here) and the more recent CFPB report (see here), U.S. insurer Prudential Financial is now investigating whether Wells Fargo employees signed up customers for its life insurance policies without their knowledge. According to a wrongful termination suit filed in New Jersey state court by three former managers in Prudential’s corporate investigation division,…Read   More