Sunday, August 29, 2010

It may be time to refinance -- your car loan

Washington Post: It's easy to overlook the cost of auto loans with mortgage rates grabbing all the attention. Yet rates on auto loans have edged lower as the cost of lending has gone down for banks. And car buyers who didn't get the best terms in the past year or so can capitalize by refinancing their loans. ... Read more here.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Report on Consumer Protection Act

NCLC has released a special 8 page issue of NCLC REPORTS analyzing the consumer law implications of the just-enacted Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act. Go to http://www.nclc.org/dodd-frank. The article includes an overview of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as a summary of the mortgage, Truth in Lending Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, remittances, and other statutory changes in the bill.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Fighting bank fees in small claims court

MSNBC: If you've ever felt powerless in a fight against a large corporation or been blind-sided by bank fees, you should know about James Noble.

The Charlottesville, Va., software engineer found himself on the short end of a credit card interest rate increase and facing $300 in overdraft fees levied by Bank of America earlier this year. In both cases, he felt the costs were unfair, but he couldn't get anyone at the bank to listen.
"Customer service is so bad at most places now, it's really starting to get to the point where you have to go to court to be treated fairly," he said.

So he did. ... Read story here.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beware of car-loan scammers

Wall Street Journal: When Edward Fox's wife lost her job and they saw their family income shrink considerably earlier this year, he looked for ways to cut expenses. He thought he found one when a company promised to help him cut his hefty car loan by as much as a third.

He got scammed instead.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dont-get-taken-by-car-loan-scams-2010-08-19?dist=news

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Maryland fares worse than nation when it comes to foreclosures

Baltimore Business Journal reports: The number of home foreclosures filed in Maryland increased about 10.4 percent from June to July, exceeding the national average.

http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/stories/2010/08/09/daily33.html?ana=e_du_pub

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The days of forced consumer arbitration could be numbered

Interesting article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Buy a car, change cell phone plans or open a new credit card and you'll likely be required to sign a lengthy contract that — let's be honest here — you're never going to read.

Increasingly, those terms and conditions include provisions that prevent you from suing the big companies that wrote the contracts. Instead, you can try to get satisfaction through arbitration. Good luck.

Forced consumer arbitration isn't new, but it is becoming more and more common. Yet that could change, as consumer groups opposed to the practice say they have never been closer to victory. ... Full article here.


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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Colbert Two-fer: Consumer Financial Protection and mandatory arbitration

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New credit card tricks

Wall Street Journal: Just months after historic legislation banned certain billing practices, card issuers have dreamed up new ones designed to trip up consumers.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704895004575395823497473064.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baltimore Sun article on FTC's debt settlement ruling

A great article by Eileen Ambrose on the FTC's ban on advance fees for debt settlement.
"It's a huge victory for consumers," says Marceline White, executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, which advocated for a similar fee ban this year in Maryland.

Until now, the debt settlement industry has grown leaps and bounds without much oversight. An increasing number of consumers have turned to these companies, which claim they can negotiate with creditors to accept half of what's owed or less. ... Full story here.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Consumer complaints go up; protection budgets go down


"At many agencies, complaints went up in 2009 and the resources to help consumers went down," concludes a new report issued jointly by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators. "These are challenging times for consumers and the agencies that serve them. State and local consumer agencies need and deserve public support to protect consumers and the integrity of the marketplace." ... Full article here.

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