Thursday, December 31, 2009

Financial industry lobbies hard against reforms

USA Today reports:
Wall Street, commercial banks and an array of other business interests are undertaking an all-out lobbying effort to shape legislation that imposes sweeping government oversight of the financial services industry. -- full story

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What to do when a debt collector calls

Mercury News:
When the debt collectors come calling, know your rights.

Collection companies are governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law. Enforcement is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission and state authorities, usually the office of the state attorney general.

The federal law prohibits collectors from ... -- read more

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Maryland AG Gansler stops foreclosure scam

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has won a judgment in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City of nearly $1 million against Rodney Spellen, Mid Atlantic Consulting, Inc., Jemel Lyles, Absoloot Ventures Inc., Brian Boyd, 1st Choice Property Management Firm, Inc., Sahar Ali, Alan Muniu, Phillip George, Certified Title & Escrow, Inc., and Reggie Simmons based on violations of Maryland laws against foreclosure rescue scams. The Honorable Pamela J. White issued an order that bars each of the defendants from offering and selling services of any kind to a homeowner who is in default on a mortgage or is in foreclosure, and requires them to pay a total of $987,030 in damages, restitution and penalties. -- read more

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mortgage compaines ordered to pay restitution

Larry Carson of The Baltimore Sun reports:
Two Owings Mills-based mortgage firms accused of running a "foreclosure rescue scheme" have agreed to pay $110,000 in cash restitution as part of a settlement that saved the Ellicott City homes of two elderly women, one of whom has since died after becoming a victim. -- full story

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AARP says utility rates are a top consumer issue

This AARP article quotes MCRC board member Hank Greenberg about concerns over so-called smart meters.

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Howard County settles lawsuit in foreclosure scam

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Consumers revolt over "smart" power meters

The New York Times reports "... Some consumers argue that the meters are logging far more kilowatt hours than they believe they are using. And many find it unfair that they will begin to pay immediately for the new meters through higher rates, when the promised savings could be years away." --full story.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Foreclosures drop in Maryland, again

The Daily Record reports: "The state saw a 4.4 percent drop in filings compared to October, but the foreclosure rate is still 83.6 percent higher than it was a year ago, according to numbers released Thursday by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac Inc. With one in every 364 homes in some state of the foreclosure process, Maryland has the ninth-highest rate of foreclosure in the country, unchanged from last month." -- full story

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Monday, December 7, 2009

MCRC Board Member on investigation of duct-cleaning scam (video clip)

Liz Crenshaw interviews Eric Friedman, an ex-officio member of MCRC's board and the director of the Office of Consumer Protection for Montgomery County, about allegations of a scam by an air-duct-cleaning service. See the clip here.

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