Articles Posted in Consumer Protection Laws

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Shortly after having paid a total of more than $300 million in fines and settlement payments for allegedly opening fake accounts for its customers without their knowledge or consent, Wells Fargo is once again back in the spotlight for allegations of fraud.

This time the allegations are in regards to the bank’s auto lending business, which allegedly signed up and charged customers for car insurance they may or may not have needed or been made aware of. According to the class action lawsuit, most of the approximately 570,000 customers involved were not looking for a car loan from Wells Fargo, but got one anyway after they had chosen an automobile.

Wells Fargo required borrowers to maintain comprehensive car insurance, like almost any other auto loan company. Unlike other auto loan companies, Wells Fargo allegedly bought insurance for its customers who did not have comprehensive insurance, then charged them for it. Wells Fargo even admitted to buying insurance for customers who already had coverage.

National General has also been named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as it is the company from which Wells Fargo purchased insurance on behalf of the customers it deemed were underinsured (whether they were or not). The bank then charged their customers for that insurance, regardless of whether those customers could afford the insurance Wells Fargo had bought for them.

Many of the customers who were forced to pay for auto insurance they could not afford fell behind on their payments, to the point where some were forced to default on their loans, resulting in the repossession of their vehicles. Continue reading

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Death is a part of life and that’s even more true in certain places of our communities, such as hospitals and nursing homes. It’s expected that most people will die there or shortly after their stay, but there are still plenty of deaths happening in these places that are preventable.

Liability insurance for the medical industry is much higher than other industries because they need to protect themselves from angry family members looking for someone to blame for their loss. Sometimes they’re just lashing out, but all too frequently, the families have a legitimate complaint and now many of them are claiming that nursing homes have been working to keep allegations against them out of the public eye.

Over the past decade or so, an increasing number of businesses, including nursing homes, have been including arbitration agreements in both their employment and service contracts. The result is that it has become nearly impossible for consumers to do anything without signing away their right to take the company to court in the event of a legal dispute.

Arbitration was created as a way for businesses to settle disputes between themselves without cluttering the courts with their lawsuits. It is a private process that is much less formal, and often less neutral, than our current legal system. For example, is common for negotiations to take place in the offices of an attorney representing one of the parties. Continue reading

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Have you ever wondered if that bank fee or overdraft charge from your bank was legal? If you tried to challenge your bank in a court of law, chances are you found out you had signed an arbitration agreement, which meant you could not settle the dispute in a court of law. Instead, you had to go through arbitration to accuse your bank of charging illegal fees or mismanaging your money.

If you choose to use arbitration, you have to cover all your legal fees yourself, which can quickly reach thousands of dollars. If you believe your bank has illegally taken funds out of your account, the chances are the amount they took was negligible. Three dollars for an overdraft fee may not seem like much, but for some people it can mean passing on a box of groceries. Even if it’s not much for the individual consumer, if the bank is improperly charging these types of fees to a large portion of its customers, it’s probably making a fortune illegally. Continue reading

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Consumers often make the mistake of signing away their rights to go to court.  Even if you have signed away your rights we pursue crooked auto dealers in arbitration and have won large arbitration judgments or settlements of over $50,000 and even $100,000 for buyers of flooded cars or rebuilt wrecks.

 

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Millions of car owners use motor oil to keep their engines running smoothly, but buying the wrong oil can do more harm than good.

To many consumers, one brand of motor oil is much like any other brand. But according to a recent consumer class action lawsuit against Dollar General, the discount retailer has been taking advantage of this assumption by selling their own brand of motor oil at a much lower cost than other brands, but there’s a catch.

The fine print on the back of the bottle says the oil is not intended for use in cars made after 1988. Dollar General’s oil is marked as 10W-30 and stored on shelves right next to oil meant for newer vehicles, so many consumers assume there’s no real difference, other than the price. Because Dollar General’s brand is considerably cheaper, many consumers buy it thinking they can use the motor oil in any car, but that’s not actually the case.

Joe Wood, a plaintiff in one of the consumer lawsuits against Dollar General, says his car died after he started using Dollar General’s brand of motor oil.

Tom Glenn, the president of the Petroleum Quality Institute of America, said that he considers Dollar General’s motor oil to be obsolete, because it should only be used on cars 28 years or older. The class action consumer lawsuit likewise called the motor oil obsolete, but Dollar General objected to the use of that word, saying their oil can be used in the millions of cars that were made prior to 1988 that are still on the road. Continue reading

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The class action lawsuit is a powerful tool for plaintiffs, particularly consumers. The costs associated with filing a lawsuit are too high to justify filing for a small claim, because the cost of the lawsuit would be greater than the potential payout. Class actions address this issue by allowing many plaintiffs with the same, or similar complaints to file one lawsuit together. With enough class members, the combined claims are often more than enough to justify filing a lawsuit. It also provides the plaintiffs with greater leverage against their defendants, who tend to be large corporations with a team of lawyers at their disposal.

Big businesses have been arguing against class actions and trying to make it more difficult for class actions to make it to the courts. One of the ways they have done this is by requiring consumers to sign contracts that include arbitration clauses in which the consumer agrees to settle all disputes with the company in arbitration, which does not allow class actions. Continue reading

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In today’s increasingly digital age, it has become easier than ever for hackers to gain access to people’s personal information, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft. Most major credit card companies offer monitoring services to protect customers from fraudulent charges, but they charge an extra fee for these services and many people don’t want to pay the extra fee if they don’t have to.

More often than not, large companies are the targets of cyberattacks, but it’s not usually the company that experiences any negative outcomes from the attacks. Instead, it’s the customers and/or employees whose personal information was compromised in the attack who suffer. The companies rarely experience any consequences of these attacks until someone files a lawsuit against the company for failing to take the proper security measures to protect against these data breaches. Continue reading

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The promise of awarding gift cards is just one method retailers sometimes use to lure shoppers into their stores. For example Hollister Co., a clothing retailer, promised consumers who spent $75 or more a $25 gift card in December 2009. The cards themselves allegedly stated they had “no expiration date”, but the retailer allegedly voided all outstanding cards on January 30, 2010.

Our client, Vincent Daniels, one of the owners of an expired gift card, filed a lawsuit against Hollister for the lost value of the gift card. Because $25 is a negligible amount, Daniels sought to represent an entire class of plaintiffs consisting of everyone still in possession of a gift card, or who threw their gift card away because they were told it had expired. Taken together, the value of all the voided gift cards amounts to more than $3 million. Continue reading

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Our Chicago autofraud and Lemon law attorneys near Vernon Hills, Grays Lake and Lake Bluff bring individual and class actions suits for defective cars with common design defects and auto dealer fraud and other car dealer scams such as selling rebuilt wrecks as certified used cars or misrepresenting a car as being in good condition when it is rebuilt wreck or had the odometer rolled back. Super Lawyers has selected our DuPage, Kane and Cook County auto-fraud, car dealer fraud and lemon law lawyers as among the top 5% in Illinois. We only collect our fee if we win or settle your case. For a free consultation call our Chicago class action lawyers at our toll free number (877) 990-4990 or contact us on the web by clicking here.

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Many employers and consumer company’s are forcing you to sign away your rights to a day in court.  Most of these contracts are take it or leave it and you have no choice.  Fight back and refuse to signed arbitration agreements whenever you can.  Many car dealers will let you delete or cross off the arbitration provision in a car purchase or finance contract.  Exercise your freedom of contract and do that whenever possible.  Below is a very informative video on the dangers of mandatory arbitration.  Don’t sign away your rights in the fine print when you have that option!

 

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