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.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit reporting agencies to provide accurate information to lenders. The FCRA also creates legal rights for consumers whose information is being investigated and misrepresented by credit reporting agencies such as TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
Credit report agencies make money off of lenders who are requesting credit reports to justify loans and interest rates. Credit report agencies are not government funded. Credit reports are often required for loans on larger purchases such as cars and homes mortgages. Credit reporting agencies over report negative credit information to lenders, such as missed payments and debts. Lenders make more money off of people who are deemed a higher credit risk because they can enforce higher interest rates. Therefore, a lender will keep returning to a credit reporting agency who can help provide information that can support higher interest rates.
Consumer Rights Protected by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
A consumer has the right to have an accurate credit report distributed to lenders. A consumer also has the right to challenge credit report agencies who are providing false or inaccurate information. A lender must provide a consumer with the name of the credit reporting agency who allegedly provided inaccurate information on a credit report if requested.
The FCRA also made it illegal for credit reporting agencies to provide subjective information on a credit report such as religion, race, how long you have been committed to your job and details about other people you may live with.
How Can a Consumer Challenge a Credit Reporting Agency Under the FCRA?
A consumer must send a written letter to the credit report agency detailing the inaccurate information provided on the credit report. It is important for the consumer to provide as much documentation as possible to support why the information is inaccurate. Depending on the inaccurate information bank statements, records, and receipts of purchases are good examples of documents to provide.
A credit reporting agency who receives a letter must re investigate in the information being provided on the consumers credit report. Then must reply to the consumer detailing if the information was corrected or not. If a credit reporting agency refuses to fix inaccurate information, the consumer should then seek out a consumer lawyer to help sue the company.
What Type of FCRA Damages Can a Consumer Sue For?
- Actual damages are real losses for the consumer. Regarding the FCRA, a consumer might experience financial loss due to inaccurate information being provided on a credit report. A consumer who receives a higher interest rate on a loan or mortgage can experience economic loss and possibly debt.
- Statutory damages are when the credit reporting agency is providing inaccurate information, but the consumer has not financially been affected yet. The inaccurate information could be preventing the consumer from even acquiring a loan.
- Punitive damages are deliberate wrongdoings by a credit reporting agency. An example of a wrongdoing would be a credit report agency refusing to read a letter from a consumer or refusing to re investigate the information being provided on a credit report. Punitive damages are rare in cases regarding the FCRA.
A credit reporting agency will also be responsible for paying lawyer fees if the consumer wins the case.
Why May There Be Inaccurate Information on a Credit Report?
Mistaken identity is an issue the credit reporting agencies battle. These mistakes are often due to a merged file. Consumers with common last names and the same first names can be confused. False addresses can appear on credit reports from someone with the same name living at a different address. Seniors and Juniors can be commonly confused especially if they live at the same address to.
There are many complaints about credit report agencies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not have resources and funding to check all the information the credit report agencies are providing to lenders.
How Can a Consumer Check Their Credit Report?
Consumers are able to access their credit report annually from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Most negative information is only listed on a credit report for seven years. Bankruptcy is usually listed for ten years. Also consumers have to give permission to lenders to look at their credit report.
You can find more information about the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by reading 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure: How to Beat the Bank by Troy Doucet. If in Ohio, call Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614) 944-5219 for a consultation.
Defenses to Foreclosure – Mitigation of Damages
Defenses to Foreclosure – Mitigation of Damages
Whenever defending a foreclosure it is important to realize that the mortgage between the bank (“mortgagee”) and the borrower (“mortgagor”) is nothing more than a contract. Under the common law of contracts mitigation of damages is required by the party who is seeking damages. The requirement that the mortgagee seeking damages mitigate their damages ensures that the mortgagee “remains in the same position it would have been in had the contract not been breached, but at the least cost to the defaulting party.”  The duty to mitigate requires that the injured party, in this example the mortgagee, take reasonable steps to mitigate their damages.
While several courts in Ohio have analyzed and applied the mortgagee’s duty to mitigate damages when pursuing a foreclosure, some courts are still reluctant to impose a duty of mitigation on mortgagees when the mortgage contains language allowing the mortgagee to pursue full payment.  However, in cases in which the duty to mitigate is not required the courts seem to misconstrue the duty to mitigate with whether or not a mortgagee is allowed to foreclose and pursue full payment. The duty to mitigate does not itself prevent the mortgagee from foreclosing and pursuing full payment; rather, it only “requires an injured party to make reasonable efforts… to limit the damages that result from the breach.” Therefore, the mortgagee may still pursue full payment and foreclosure, but if there is an opportunity for the bank/mortgagee to recoup some of their losses, by say accepting a short-sale or working out a modification with the mortgagor, then the duty to mitigate damages requires them to do so or at least make a reasonable effort. When defending a foreclosure the mortgagor’s attorney should look into whether the mortgagee had an opportunity to mitigate their damages. The failure to mitigate damages is an affirmative defense, meaning that the mortgagor’s attorney must prove that the mortgagee failed to mitigate. 
 By: Timothy J. Cook, Of Counsel, Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A.
 Aurora Loan Servs. L.L.C. v. Sansom-Jones, 2012-Ohio-5477, ¶ 25 (10th Dist.) (citing Frenchtown Square Partnership v. Lemstone, Inc., 2003–Ohio–3648, ¶ 12).
 Fifth Third Mtge. Co. v. O’Neill, 2015-Ohio-3000, ¶ 44 (5th Dist.) appeal not allowed, 2016-Ohio-172, ¶ 44 (2016).
 UAP–Columbus JV326132 v. O. Valeria Stores, Inc., 2008–Ohio–588, ¶ 17 (10th Dist.).
 See Baird v. Crop Prod. Servs., 2012–Ohio–4022, ¶ 43 (12th Dist.).
Doucet Recovers Treble Damages in Auto Repair Lawsuit
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. recovered treble damages (three times the actual damages) plus attorney fees, in a civil breach of contract and Consumer Sales Protection Act lawsuit against Jacobs Proformance Engines LLC (JPE an Ohio Corporation entity 1709437 – Columbus Ohio). The consumer lawyers at our law firm handle many cases against dishonest car repair shops. Sometimes the claims our lawyers handle result in the sizable recovery of money damages.
In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof to establish all the elements necessary to sustain a claim, which includes the element of damages. With legal representation from a consumer lawyer with Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A., in this civil lawsuit, the magistrate determined that all elements were met by default. The case was filed in Franklin County Court as a civil breach of contract claim lawsuit and the Consumer Sales Protection Act (CSPA).
Referred to a Magistrate for damages after the court issued a decision and entry granting plaintiff’s Motion for Default, the magistrate awarded damages based upon the default judgment.
The lawsuit was filed in Ohio after our client paid $28,400 for a high performance custom built racing engine “F2SBC Turnkey Engine”. Upon delivery of the finished motor from JPE, our client became suspicious that something was wrong with the engine. The client began disassembling the engine and noted wear and tear not normally associated with new products. Our client contacted Jacobs Proformance Engines LLC (JPE) and raised his concerns, but the defendant told him not to take the engine apart because it would “harm it.” Our client proceeded to take the engine apart and discovered his concerns were correct – the “new” engine was actually used.
After our client identified the breach of contract by JPE and contacted Doucet & Associates, our consumer lawyers filed a consumer protection lawsuit on his behalf. Our client not only recovered actual damages, but for the personal stress that lead to issues with his family, his sleep, and his general well being.
The court decided that our client would recover civil damages against Jacobs Performance Engines LLC (JPE) in the amount of $70,400 plus $500 for non-economic damages, plus attorney fees, plus interest, and plus court costs.
As a civil breach of contract lawsuit with elements covered by the Consumer Sales Protection Act, colloquially known as consumer protection, our client utilized our consumer lawyer services to obtain a favorable judgment in the breach of contract case against JPE. If you are an Ohio resident facing a similar issue with an auto repair, maintenance, upgrading shop, or another issue with this same company, you are invited to call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219 to discuss your legal options.
Wells Fargo Admits to Wrongful Conduct in Mortgage
Wells Fargo, a multinational banking and financial services holding company, admitted wrongdoing by proffering judgment in a federal lawsuit filed by Doucet & Associates on behalf of its client, a Westerville homeowner. Wells Fargo confessed to the lawsuit’s allegations and paid the homeowner money for the wrongful conduct.
In 2009, the homeowner accepted a promissory note and a mortgage in order to create a security interest in his home. During this time Landstar Title, LLC, APR Mortgage Corporation, Century Mortgage Company of Kentucky, and Prominent Title Agency, LLC, allegedly improperly set up an affiliate relationship (sharing profits from the real estate settlement). The homeowner alleged they did not properly inform the homeowner of this profit sharing, meaning he alleged all monies that changed hands were illegal kickbacks.
Later in 2012, the homeowner informed Wells Fargo that he wished to cancel his mortgage loan transaction under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) on the basis of the non-disclosure of payments between the title company and mortgage company. Wells Fargo failed to honor this request, and in doing so violated the Truth in Lending Act.
The homeowner sought the cancellation of his mortgage loan be honored and that the security interest on his property be terminated. He also sought actual, statutory, and punitive damages in addition to injunctive relief to ensure these actions would not happen again, and wished to ensure these dealings did not affect his credit score.
Wells Fargo, in response, admitted wrongdoing and offered the homeowner cash in damages, which he accepted.
Doucet & Associates is dedicated to fighting for the rights of consumers, protecting their interests and offering legal assistance to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. If you feel that a company is taking advantage of you, the law firm welcomes your call at (614) 944-5219.