Major changes to Ohio’s driver’s license are here. Expect long lines and to produce more information about your identity than ever before. Here, a former BMV Registrar tells you what you need to know about the changes in the law.
Andy Gerling was recently rated AV Preeminent by lawyers in our community.
Dish Network was fined $280 million for using illegal robocalls to promote services in Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, and California. Dish Network was telemarketing services to consumers registered on the “Do Not Call” list, a national registry provided by the Federal Trade Commission that allows consumers to register any number to avoid receiving future robocalls from any company...
CitiMortgage and CitiFinancial Servicing have been fined $28.8 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for failing to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by using bad loss mitigation practices...
Columbus, Ohio residents in the 614 area code receive an extremely high number of robocalls. Robocalls are automated messages sent to a consumer’s phone that are typically annoying and unwanted...
We are proud to announce the promotion of Andrew Gerling to shareholder at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A...
A cruise line that illegally telemarketed and advertised a free cruise by robocalling thousands of people in 2011 and 2012 is required to pay at least $56 million dollars in damages and fines.
New Flex Modification Program Will Replace HAMP
The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure by adjusting interest rates and modifying loans expired at the end of the year. A new Flex Modification program will replace HAMP starting in 2017.
The new Flex Modification program is designed to cut back on monthly mortgage payments when homeowners are experiencing financial hardships and behind on their mortgage. Some homeowners are expected to receive up to a 20% payment reduction on their mortgage. Introduced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Flex Modification foreclosure prevention program is supposed to be adaptive to regional differences and the ever-changing housing market.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government enterprises developed by Congress to help loan servicers convert assets to cash, a concept known as liquidity. To do this, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and loan servicers. The lenders then take the profit from selling the mortgages and relend it to other consumers buying a home or property. The government enterprises help lenders have an affordable supply of monetary funds to distribute in mortgage loans around the United States.
Flex Modification is expected to help lenders, homeowners, taxpayers, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac save money by avoiding the expensive and long foreclosure process. If you are having financial difficulties and struggling to pay your mortgage payment in full every month, a loan modification may be able to help you keep your home. Contact a foreclosure defense lawyer at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance securing a loan modification today.
Protect Yourself from Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft is on the rise as thieves are using stolen personal data to acquire medical assistance, prescriptions drugs, and surgeries.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforces the rights to medical privacy and says who has access to a patient’s medical records. You should always have access to your own medical records and it is important to always keep an updated copy. Checking your medical records annually can help you stay aware that your personal information is not being used to obtain illegal medical assistance.
As a patient, always question if handing out your social security number or submitting a copy of your photo ID is necessary in a medical facility. This can prevent your personal data from being stolen along with medical information. Also if you ever have any of your personal information stolen, such as a driver’s license, health insurance card, credit cards or social security card, you should file police report. Filing a police report can help you if you are a victim of medical identity theft in the future. If your health insurance card is stolen, you can contact your provider and request a new ID number to help prevent fraud.
There are clues that can indicate if you are a victim of medical identity theft. Mysterious medical bills for services you did not acquire and calls from debt collectors for failure to pay for medical services are two of the most common warnings you are a victim. Checking your credit report and discovering unauthorized collection accounts is also a clue. If you are notified that you have reached your limit on your health insurance when you know you have not, you should contact your health provider for your medical records to verify why.
If you discover you are a victim of medical identity theft you should file a police report, file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and contact your health insurance provider and request a copy of your medical records. If you are denied access to your medical records send a written request to your provider. If still denied access you can file a report for violation of privacy laws at the Office for Civil Rights.
Similar to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can send a letter requesting to your health insurance provider asking for fraudulent information to be corrected. Having false and wrong information on your medical records can affect how you are treated by a medical professional in the future. If the health provider fails to comply and remove the wrong records, you can contact an attorney at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance.
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. Attorneys Receive Rising Stars Honor
Attorneys Troy J. Doucet and Andrew Gerling are being recognized as a 2017 Ohio Rising Star by Super Lawyers. This honor is reserved for lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. focuses on helping our clients fight foreclosure, consumer law, and small business litigation.
Troy Doucet established this law firm to help people fight against banks, mortgage companies, and debt collectors. He also wrote the foreclosure defense book 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure: How to Beat the Bank, trains new attorneys in consumer law, and has taught CLE courses for lawyers. Troy works hard to make sure that our clients get outstanding legal representation and is proud of the consumer-friendly case law this firm helps establish every day.
Andrew Gerling is a senior associate and litigator at Doucet & Associates. He has significant experience helping people in consumer protection lawsuits such as foreclosure defense, abusive debt collection, and consumer fraud. Andrew and Troy have great experience working with consumer matters that involve the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Consumer Sales Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Truth in Lending Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Troy Doucet and Andrew Gerling are honored to have received the 2017 Ohio Rising Stars Award for consumer law. The dedication the attorneys at Doucet & Associates give our clients has helped our law firm become one of the most recognized foreclosure defense and consumer law firms in Ohio.
Contact Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance with a foreclosure lawsuit or consumer protection matter.
Best Buy Illegally Sold Recalled Products
Best Buy agreed to pay a $3.8 million fine for selling 16 recalled products from 2010 to 2015. It is illegal to sell a product after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) labels it as a recall. The attorneys at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. help protect people by enforcing regulations under the CPSC.
The CPSC protects consumers from products with unreasonable risks associated with fire, electrical, chemical and mechanical hazards. The CPSC helped reduce the rate of injury and death associated with consumer products over the last few decades.
Best Buy failed to remove recalled items from store shelves and website and did not correctly inform their employees of recalled products. The recalled products did not accurately get identified in their employee cataloging systems. Products such as dehumidifiers, household appliances, computers, kitchen appliances, and televisions are only a few types of recalled technology sold.
A list of all recalled products illegally sold by Best Buy can be found on the CPSC website by clicking here. If you purchased one of these recalled items and received an injury from using it, contact the attorneys at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. for legal help. Call us at (614)944-5219 today.
Save the Dream Ohio Restarts
Save the Dream Ohio is a federally funded program that keeps families experiencing job loss from falling into foreclosure. The program started taking applications again in September for homeowners receiving unemployment benefits since January 1, 2014. The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. helps homeowners fight foreclosure by securing loan modifications and by finding mortgage errors, which can include Save the Dream foundation applications.
Save the Dream Ohio started in 2010 and helped over 20,000 families pay mortgage liabilities with forgivable loans. The program assists families by making mortgage payments for up to 18 months depending on the severity of the financial situation. The program may also pay missed mortgage payments, property taxes and fees, and reduce the principal balance on a mortgage. Before the program halted two years ago an estimated 98% of families helped continued living in their home.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) manages the Save the Dream Ohio foundation by working with nonprofit housing counseling agencies. Families with an annual household income under $112,375 who owe less than $432,000 on a mortgage may qualify for help. Homeowners do not have to pay a fee to receive assistance.
The OHFA must receive approval from a homeowner’s mortgage company or lender to provide financial assistance. Homeowners can apply for assistance at www.SavetheDream.ohio.gov or by calling (888)-404-4674.
If you are not accepted into Save the Dream and facing foreclosure, the lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. maybe able to help you apply for a loan modification or defend the lawsuit.
Police Arrest People In India Involved in IRS Scam
Police caught more than 700 people in Mumbai, India call centers posing as United States Tax Officials who scammed Americans into paying money for fake tax related debts. At least 70 people have been arrested so far. These calls violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. helps people enforce.
Authorities estimate the call centers made an average of $150,000 a day, or over $50 million a year. The scammers demanded payments over the phone through money transfer wiring services and gift cards. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) started the Robocall Strike Force in August to battle unwanted, illegal robocalls such as the IRS scam and to find the source. Consumers who get these calls can receive up to $1500 per call under the TCPA, which Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. has extensive experience litigating.
The scam utilized a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to make the Indian telephone numbers imitate US numbers. Scammers also received training to learn how to speak in an American accent. First the scammers would introduce themselves and detailing a purpose for the call. Then the scammers harassed victims to make immediate payments and threatened local police forces will get involved when victims refused.
Call centers in India have an unfortunate history of scamming Americans. Scammers have attempted to sell consumers fake virus and malware software and a variety of other computer tech support. Authorities in India also noticed a rise in India based call center scams targeting residents in their own country.
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. are lawyers who can help stop unwanted robocalls, junk faxes and debt collection harassment. Contact us at (614)944-5219 today for assistance.
Ohio Gets Rid of Wells Fargo
Ohio decided to cut doing business with Wells Fargo due to the recent, unacceptable behavior of creating millions of fake bank accounts with customer names. So far cities in Illinois, Washington, and the Wells Fargo home state of California have already suspended business with the bank for at least one year.
Between 2011 and 2015 Wells Fargo employees created millions of fake bank accounts to meet targeted sales and collect more money in fees from their customers who were unaware of the unauthorized accounts. Wells Fargo’s actions violated the Truth in Lending Act and threatened to destroy their customers credit score.
This month Ohio announced that Wells Fargo is suspended from doing business with the state for at least one year. Wells Fargo mostly participated in funding state bonds in Ohio and is now forbidden to do so because of the loss of trust between the public and the bank. Ohio will now solicit related services from other companies even though Wells Fargo has contributed over $800 million to state bonds in the last couple years. Whether Wells Fargo will be able to gain business with Ohio again after a year will be determined at a later time.
It was settled in September that Wells Fargo will pay $185 million dollars in penalties for their fraudulent acts. Another $5 million dollars will be distributed to customers who are victims of the unlawful act and fee generating accounts.
Get Your Refund for the Samsung Galaxy Note7 at 3pm Today
Samsung issued a voluntary recall on original and replacement Galaxy Note7 phones sold by wireless carriers and retailers in the United States. The phones have a history of overheating and have been labeled with serious fire and burn hazards by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Due to the safety risk, Samsung is asking everyone to turn off the Galaxy Note7 phones. Consumers can contact the carrier or retailer where they purchased the phone to learn about refund options. Samsung has modified the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program so consumers can exchange the Galaxy Note7 for another Samsung smartphone or a monetary refund.
A consumer choosing to exchange the Galaxy Note7 for a different smartphone can also replace specific Galaxy Note7 accessories. Consumers will receive a refund if the exchange is cheaper than the original price paid for the Galaxy Note7.
Some consumers may also qualify for extra bill credit depending on the situation. Galaxy Note7 owners can read more about the refund credit policies here. Consumers who purchased the smartphone on the Samsung website can contact the company at 1-844-365-6197. Samsung is sending consumers safety boxes to return the Galaxy Note7 phones by mail.