Andy Gerling was recently rated AV Preeminent by lawyers in our community.
Doucet announces new scholarship to raise awareness of the benefits of consumer protection laws.
Our firm is proud to announce that Troy Doucet was recently rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell. This rating is considered the top benchmark in peer-ranking, and only about 10% of lawyers reach this level of distinction.
There are several ways to stop a sheriff’s sale in Ohio. This post discusses several ways to stop a sheriff’s sale with plenty of good information to help you understand your options.
If you have had property sell through the court system for more than what you owe, the excess funds will be placed in an escrow account with the clerk of courts. This usually happens when a foreclosure sheriff sale occurs where the property is sold for more than the loan balance. While some legal work is necessary to get the money back, the process is not complex. We have helped a number of people get those funds from the clerk at relatively nominal cost. Recently, we helped a client recover over $80,000 for about $1,200 in fees.
Unfortunately, we have been hearing that several law firms have been offering to recover those funds for a third or 25% of the total amount held by the clerk. We believe this practice to be unethical under RPC 1.5. There is no risk of loss for the lawyer in taking on one of these cases, nor substantial work needed to get these funds from trust. A lawyer is prohibited from charging a clearly excessive fee pursuant to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. We believe it is excessive for an attorney to get a $20,000 fee from a $60,000 deposit that requires $2,000 worth of work.
I should mention that recovering a deposit is different than "redeeming" the property. Redemption of the property means you save a property from foreclosure by paying the full balance due. This is a bit more legal work (a few thousand dollars, depending on the court), but still should not be done on a contingency.
If you need help getting funds that are deposited with the Clerk of Court, you may attempt to get those fees directly through the Clerk's office. If you would prefer to hire an attorney, call our firm for help on an hourly rate. We won't take a percent of the award - only bill you for the work we actually do.
Several clients of Doucet & Associates are appearing in a National Public Radio (NPR) story about PHEAA and FedLoan Servicing this week. The NPR radio report about our teacher clients, Maggie Webb and David West, outlines our clients’ frustrations about their TEACH grants being illegally converted into interest bearing loans. The story is available here: https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/03/28/596162853/dept-of-education-fail-teachers-lose-grants-forced-to-repay-thousands-in-loans
The teachers we represent are part of a class action against PHEAA and The Department of Education that claims PHEAA is purposefully converting these loan, in violation of RICO. RICO is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which prohibits entities from scheming to defraud others.
The NPR story is about teachers that outlines how we believe their grants should not have been changed into loans. The teachers agreed to work in targeted areas for four years in exchange for having grants forgiven. But by converting the grants into loans, PHEAA may be reaping millions in extra fees and interest. Doucet & Associates filed a class action last year that has recently been subject to a MDL motion to consolidate this lawsuit and others before one judge.
Doucet represents over 20 teachers in this class action against PHEAA and the US Department of Education. If you would like to explore joining this lawsuit, please use the submission section located here. We will then reach out to you directly.
Read more about this lawsuit here.
To read the entire lawsuit, click here.
To sign up to get notifications about this lawsuit, click here.
Chris Gant helps people facing foreclosure, and he protects consumers against bad business practices. Contact him at (614) 944-5219.
Firm owners Troy Doucet and Andrew Gerling were again awarded "Rising Star" designations this year by SuperLawyers Magazine. This was Andy's second year and Troy's fourth. This prestigious award is given to less than 2.5% of licensed attorneys in the state.
Click here for the firm's profile.
Click here to read a story in Superlawyers about the firm's past pro bono efforts.
Keystone Properties is having their 4th Annual Free Furnace Giveaway is underway, and we encourage you to share this opportunity with others, or nominate someone in need. The deserving winner (must be homeowner in Fairfield or Franklin County) will receive a free furnace and installation by Keystone.
In recent years, we’ve been honored to give warmth to single mothers living without heat and even a cancer patient in his last days.
Please don’t miss the opportunity to make a positive impact on our local community.
Ways to share:
- Like and share our Facebook posting: https://www.facebook.com/keystonehc
- Pass along the link to nominations: http://keystone-hc.com/furnace-giveaway/ - or nominate someone yourself
- Email your friends, family, churches, school officials, colleagues and more!
Nominations close December 17. Thanks, everyone! Wishing you a blessed New Year.
Watch Andy's most memorable case, where we saved an elderly woman's home from foreclosure after the sale had already taken place.
Paralegal Calli Crowder talks about how she helped stop a sheriff sale and save a client's home from foreclosure!
Watch this video where Attorney Andrew Gerling discusses his focus on helping meet clients' objectives.
Buying a used car can be exciting, stressful, and convenient for a consumer living on a budget and trying to save money. Many consumers are fearful about overpaying for a new used vehicle and buying an unreliable vehicle that will need repairs and extra maintenance. The lawyers at Doucet & Associate Co., L.P.A. have experience fighting car dealerships for selling misleading, defective used vehicles to consumers and violating the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA). Below are some tips and tricks for consumers shopping for used cars to follow to help better protect themselves from buying a malfunctioning used vehicle.
Do your research before buying!
Decide what vehicle features and characteristics are most important to you before you start shopping. There are so many different makes, models, and brands of cars that test driving every car would be time consuming. You should also research the dealership you plan to buy the used vehicle from. Read the dealerships reviews and see if other consumers have been happy with the used vehicles they purchased.
It is also important to check prices of used vehicles online. Websites like Kelley Blue Book, Nada, and Edmunds let you check and compare the prices of used vehicles for many different makes, models, and years. Using these websites can help you determine the types of vehicles that you may be able to afford before you start shopping. These websites can also help you pinpoint vehicles you should avoid because they are overpriced at the dealerships.
What does it mean if your vehicle is sold “as is”?
You should take precautions when buying used vehicles sold “as is”. Used vehicles are not protected by the Ohio Lemon Laws, but the car may be under warranty. When a vehicle is sold “as is”, it means the vehicle is being sold in its current condition. You, as the new owner, are accepting all responsibilities for known and unknown problems with the vehicle after the transaction has been made. Dealerships selling used cars “as is” must clearly state and tell consumers about the “as is” policy before they agree to buy the car. There is no 3 day right to cancel a car purchase in Ohio.
Test drive the car!
Driving the car before you buy it is important! Every car drives and feels a little different. A driver has different perspectives of the road depending on how large the car is and how high the seats are. When test driving a used vehicle, you should try to drive it on many different types of road ways. Drive the car on a highway, on a curvy country road, a wet surface, a bumpy road, and any other types of roads the dealership will let you drive the vehicle before buying.
It may also be a good idea to test drive the car to a mechanic for an inspection. If you are planning to spend a couple grand on a used vehicle, paying for an extra inspection could save you from having to fix an expensive problem in the future. If the dealership refuses to let you get the vehicle inspected at a mechanic of your choice, you may be better buying a car from a different dealership that will let get the car reviewed.
Does the car have a history?
Using the vehicle identification number (VIN), you can check the cars history on websites like CarFax and AutoCheck. A vehicle history report will include information about ownership changes, accident reports, repairs and mileage. Most dealerships are willing to provide this information for you.
You can also check the condition of the car for clues the car was involved in an accident or has a problem and needs fixed. By using a magnet, you can check for fillers in the metal parts of the car body. If the magnet does not stick to the metal, then it is likely a filler was used while repairing the car. You can look for excess paint that was accidently sprayed on doorjambs, in the trunk, and in the engine area. Over spraying paint can be a sign the car has been repaired and repainted. You should also look under the car for any suspicious leaks and puddles.
Review any contracts you sign!
It is beneficial to read and understand all warranty, loan, and service contracts when you are buying a used car from a dealership. A warranty is a guarantee given to the consumer by the seller or manufacturer promising to make repairs if necessary. There are many different types of warranties so it is important to understand what types of repairs are included. A vehicle service contract can usually be purchased by consumers when buying a car to help reduce the costs of repairs after a warranty expires.
A loan contract will include all information regarding interest rates and other fees. If the lender does not provide you with this information before you sign any contracts and agree to buy the car, then the lender is violating the Truth In Lending Act (TILA). The TILA was created to protect consumers signing contracts with creditors and lenders. The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. are well educated about consumer rights under the TILA. You can read more information about the TILA regarding consumers and loans in 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure: How to Beat the Bank by Troy Doucet.
Card skimming is the act of stealing valuable credit or debit card information by using an illegal card reader called a skimming device at ATM machines, gas pumps and other machines. If you swipe or insert a card into a skimming device, important information is stolen from the magnetic strip which allows thieves to illegally access your account and make unauthorized charges. Knowing how to recognize card skimming devices and understanding your liability for fraudulent charges under the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) can help you avoid being responsible for illegal, fake charges.
What does a card skimmer look like?
Card skimming devices steal information from the magnetic strip and fit over the real card readers. They are often thinner than a deck of cards. Typically, if the insert arrows below the card reader are really close to where you insert your card, that is a sign there could be a card skimming device installed on top of the real card reader. It is important to check to see if any part of the card reader is detachable or loose. A real card reader does not have loose or detachable parts.
Watch out for hidden cameras
Thieves who use card skimmers are also known to steal pin numbers by placing hidden cameras near the keypad. A camera can be a sign that there is a skimming device also illegally placed over the card reader. You can help protect your pin number by checking the keypad area for a hidden camera. If you find a hidden camera you should immediately avoid using that specific machine and report it to the police. If there is a hidden camera and a card skimming device, then the thief has to return to the machine to collect the stolen data. Card skimming devices are not known to wirelessly transmit data back to the thief.
Limitation of Liability for Misuse and Fraudulent Charges
To reduce skimming the United States started to transition to EMV chip cards. But, during the transition period, debit and credit cards still have a magnetic strip on the back storing valuable information that can be stolen. The TILA protects credit cards and states that credit card holders could be liable for up to $50 max of a fraudulent charge if reported to the credit card company in a timely manner. The EFTA protects consumers whose debit card information is stolen and used for fake charges. Under the EFTA a consumer may be held liable for up to $500 max if the fraudulent charge is reported to the bank within a timely manner. As a consumer, you should have been informed about how to report fake charges to your bank or card company when you signed up for a credit or debit card.
If you are being denied your right to report a fraudulent charge, your TILA rights and EFTA rights may be violated. The lawyers at Doucet & Associates have experience handling lawsuits involving the TILA and the EFTA and may be able to help you. Contact us today at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance or send us a message online by clicking here. You can also click here to learn more about our free 1-hour presentations if you would like to have a guest speaker form our law firm visit you and present related information to a group of people for you.
The lawyers at Doucet & Associates help people going through some very tough times. Here, Tim tells us about a client only 3 days away from being forcibly removed from her home.
Troy has sold over 10,000 copies of this book since it was first published. The law is still good on almost every subject, and has expanded with regards to RESPA and TILA. This manual is still a must-have manual for anyone fighting foreclosure. Pick up your copy at
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. has revamped its website with a new design and new look. Check out the changes at https://www.doucet.law!
Doucet & Associates Co LPA is a consumer litigation law firm that helps consumers in Ohio fight back against businesses that take advantage of consumers. Our lawyers have extensive experience helping consumers in Ohio with a variety of different legal matters when a business fails to provide what was promised...
When lenders make mistakes on loans, the errors can affect a consumer’s credit report and credit score. The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co LPA help consumers in Ohio fix errors on their credit report and identify and correct lenders mistakes on mortgage loans, student loans, credit cards, medical debt, car loans and much more...