Sunday, October 31, 2010

Election could raise threshold for civil cases in circuit court in Maryland

Daily Record: Halloween may be over, but something strange is still happening in Maryland. The plaintiffs’ bar has found common ground with the Maryland Retailers Association, while the insurance industry finds itself in agreement with the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition.
http://mddailyrecord.com/2010/10/31/election-could-raise-threshold-for-civil-cases-in-circuit-court/

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ban on advance fees for debt settlement services starts today

The Federal Trade Commission's ruling that bans advance fees for debt settlement firms (requiring them to actually perform services before taking consumers' money) goes into effect today. It's a big win for consumers, but more needs to be done. MCRC will be working to cap fees to a reasonable level and to close the loopholes that firms immediately sought to employ.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mortgage-fraud workshop for consumers Nov. 6

Click on image to enlarge:

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Employers using credit checks more frequently for job candidates

Here's an interesting story by Eileen Ambrose in The Baltimore Sun about employers' increased use of credit reports to screen job applicants. In the 2010 General Assembly session, MCRC advocated for legislation (HB 175 and SB 312) that would have limited this practice, but both bills died in their respective committees.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

FTC publishes guide to help attorneys give assistance to victims of ID theft

"The Federal Trade Commission has created a guide to help attorneys and victim advocates provide legal assistance to identity theft victims. Geared toward resolving issues out of court, the Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims (www.idtheft.gov/probono) describes how advocates can intervene with creditors, credit reporting agencies, debt collectors, and others. The Guide includes sample dispute letters for victims and sample attorney follow-up letters to address matters victims are unable to resolve. It also provides checklists, an ID Theft Affidavit, a Victim’s Action Log, federal statutes and regulations, consumer education material, and links to online resources."

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Court OKs foreclosure review

Jamie Smith Hopkins of The Baltimore Sun reports: Maryland courts got the go-ahead Tuesday to conduct sweeping reviews of possibly thousands of foreclosure cases to root out those with problematic or fraudulent documentation, while the federal government separately announced investigations into national foreclosure practices.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/real-estate/bs-bz-court-foreclosure-rules-20101019,0,697955.story

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Gazette article looks at role of PSC

Interesting article here about the Public Service Commission and whether it's doing enough to protect consumers. Article includes quotes from MCRC's Marceline White about her thoughts on the PSC. Read it here.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tips for protecting yourself from identity theft

Brought to you by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
http://www.protectyouridnow.org/

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Foreclosure problems go deeper than paperwork snafus

Washington Post: Millions of U.S. mortgages have been shuttled around the global financial system - sold and resold by firms - without the documents that traditionally prove who legally owns the loans.

Now, as many of these loans have fallen into default and banks have sought to seize homes, judges around the country have increasingly ruled that lenders had no right to foreclose, because they lacked clear title. ... Read full article here.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Maryland officials ask mortgage firms to halt foreclosures

The Baltimore Sun: ... The officials were responding to widespread reports that executives with national companies have signed many legal documents for foreclosure cases without verifying that the information was accurate. Bank of America said Friday that it would delay foreclosures in 23 states as it investigated its process, following similar announcements by JPMorgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage. Maryland was not among the states.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-foreclosure-moratorium-20101004,0,4911915.story

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