illegal

Dish Network Fined for Making Illegal Robocalls to Ohio Residents

Dish Network Fined for Making Illegal Robocalls to Ohio Residents

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...

Do You Know How to Spot a Card Skimmer?

Do You Know How to Spot a Card Skimmer?

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...

How to Avoid a Tax Scam

How to Avoid a Tax Scam

Tax scammers are hitting the ground running and are determined to scam as many tax payers as possible during tax season. Tax scammers can make millions of dollars a year off of tax payers by pretending to be affiliated with government organizations such as the IRS...

Collect Damages from the Free Cruise Telemarketers

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.

Can a debt collector call you during the holidays? It Depends

Can a debt collector call you during the holidays? It Depends

Getting a phone call from a debt collector during the holiday season can ruin your holiday spirit. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) restricts the actions of debt collectors, protects consumers, and punishes debt collectors with unruly, bad behavior. Troy Doucet, the firm principal here at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A., shares advice regarding the FDCPA and how to deal with unruly debt collectors during the holiday season in the article “Can a Debt Collector call you during the holidays?” in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The FDCPA punishes debt collectors who contact consumers with repetitive, harassing behavior and restricts them from calling consumers at inconvenient times. Calling in the middle of the night or calling a consumer at work are typical examples of an inconvenient time, but holidays may also be arguable inconvenient and a violation of the FDCPA.

Under the FDCPA, consumers are allowed to send a written letter asking a debt collector to stop calling. After, the debt collector may contact the consumer one more time to inform them they plan to take legal action. If the debt collector continues to contact the consumer after the letter, then a consumer litigation lawyer at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help determine if the FDCPA has been violated. Once a consumer has legal representation, the debt collector cannot contact the consumer directly without permission of the lawyer.

In Ohio, lawsuits dealing with the FDCPA allow fee shifting. This means if the lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help you win a lawsuit against a debt collector for bad and unruly behaviors, the debt collector will have to pay all of our attorney fees for you. Contact an experienced lawyer at (614)944-5219 for your consultation today.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Best Buy Illegally Sold Recalled Products

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.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Police Arrest People In India Involved in IRS Scam

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.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Trash Out – Lock Out

Trash Out – Lock Out

It is illegal for a mortgage company or lender to remove a borrower’s personal belongings from a property and change the locks before the foreclosure process is complete. This action is called a “trash out” or “lock out”.

In Ohio, a lender has to wait 120 days after one missed payment to send a borrower a foreclosure notice. Then the borrower has 28 days to reply to the lawsuit or face default judgment. During this time the borrower is allowed to continue living at the property.

The lender has to notify the borrower through the sheriffs office when they are required to move – which occurs when the property is sold. Usually the borrower is not required to move out during the foreclosure process until the property has been sold. The property could have been sold by the consumer, an approved short sale, or through a sheriff sale.

The property becomes a sheriff sale if the borrower loses the lawsuit or faces default judgment. The borrower may continue living on the property until after confirmation of a sale. This could be a day or a couple months depending on how long it takes for the property to sell.

After confirmation of the sale, a writ of possession is filed. At this time the lenders will notify the borrowers of a move out deadline. If the borrowers fail to move out by the deadline, then the lenders have the right to hire a trash out company to remove the remaining possessions and change the locks for the new owner.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Beware of the IRS Lawsuit Scam

Beware of the IRS Lawsuit Scam

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants taxpayers to be aware of a phone scam claiming affiliation with the IRS. The criminal phone scam is contacting taxpayers with a message indicating that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you and that immediate payment can prevent it.

The scammers are asking taxpayers to provide payment over the phone to help cancel the lawsuit and pay off debt. The scammers can modify their telephone numbers on caller ID to resemble numbers of the IRS so do not call back after receiving a voicemail. Hanging up on a related phone scam is advised.

Taxpayers may receive multiple calls from scammers posing as the IRS officials. Scams with repetitive actions are considered illegal robocalls. Any scam phone call can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Access the FTC Complaint Assistant by clicking here.

The scammers are violating traditional practices of the IRS. The real IRS will never demand immediate payment without notifying the taxpayer by mail first. Also the IRS never asks for credit or debit card information over the phone and never refuses other forms of payment. Taxpayers have the right to appeal and question the real IRS if an amount owed seems false.

The fraudulent IRS officials are bullying taxpayers into making payments over the phone. Do not feel frightened or threatened by scammers detailing law enforcement groups are going to get involved and possibly make an arrest. The real IRS does not authorize officials the ability to have taxpayers arrested over the phone.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Wells Fargo Created Millions of Fake Accounts

Wells Fargo Created Millions of Fake Accounts

Wells Fargo created millions of fake bank accounts under consumer names between 2011 and 2015. By doing so, the Wells Fargo bank was able to meet targeted sales and collect more money in fees from their consumers who were unaware of these unauthorized accounts. It is noted that consumers were signed up for checking accounts and credit cards that they never agreed to open and pay fees on. Wells Fargo has said to have dismissed over 5,000 employees regarding this issue, suggesting this was a widespread problem and ingrained in the banks culture.

Over a million fake accounts are estimated to have been created by employees in consumers names. Employees allegedly created fake email addresses and fake pin numbers to enter these accounts into the system. Roughly a quarter of the accounts created without a consumer consent were credit card accounts. These credit card accounts jointly created a little under a half a million dollars in fees including interest charges, overdraft protection fees and annual fees. Wells Fargo does plan to compensate consumers involved in these fraudulent accounts.

So how does a fraudulent bank account effect a consumer?

A bank account developing fees that are going undetected by the consumer can continuously grow causing the consumer to have to pay more once detected. If never detected, then the consumer is accumulating debt. The unauthorized bank accounts also affect a consumers’ credit score as they are missing payments. A drop in credit could affect a consumers’ ability to take out a loan on items such as a car or mortgage for a home.

Wells Fargo creating unauthorized bank accounts violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). TILA expresses that consumers should be made aware of certain information when signing contracts related to credit cards and loans. Wells Fargo employees violated this act by never providing a contract for consumers to sign agreeing to the bank accounts and credit card accounts that were created. More information regarding the TILA can be found in 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure: How to Beat the Bank by Troy Doucet.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Let Me Call You Back… Why Auto Dialers Are Bad for Business

Let Me Call You Back… Why Auto Dialers Are Bad for Business

Have you ever received a phone call from a number you did not recognize, only to find it was a robocall about a service you did not want or need? Did that phone call end with the nagging question of how were they able to get your phone number? Our client, Rick W., went through an experience like that. When he answered his cell phone, he was autodialed about a problem that no homeowner ever wants to get a call about: his mortgage.

In setting up his mortgage, our client was careful to only to write his home phone number in the section marked “borrower information” and gave his cell phone number to the bank solely as a work number. Rick did not volunteer this number to be called by his mortgage company. As such, his rights were violated under the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) when his mortgage company, Carrington Mortgage Services autodialed his cellphone. Doucet & Associates filed a class action on his behalf, which recently settled for over $1 million.

The TCPA was passed in 1991 to protect consumers from tactics that were becoming increasingly pervasive among telemarketers, such as using auto dialers to advertise to cell phone users. In many cases, calling a cell phone would result in a charge to the owner of that device, meaning that unsolicited calls were not only an annoyance, but an actual expense to anyone receiving them. Automated messages, or robocalls, are also prohibited by the TCPA, because Congress found that they are a greater nuisance and invasion of privacy than their human counterparts.

Our client never intended to have his cell phone number used for unsolicited calls. He maintained that Carrington repeatedly used an auto-dialer to communicate with him about his mortgage, in some cases calling his cell several times a week to leave threatening automated messages. His lawsuit alleged that Carrington even called him twenty-six times in the span of 3 months, which equates to roughly one call every three or four days.

Vanessa R. believed herself to be in a similar situation with Carrington, but when she took over her current mortgage from her ex-husband in 2008, she did not even have a cell phone. She eventually got one in 2010, and alleged that Carrington began sending her threatening messages regarding her mortgage roughly a year after that point. She did not know how Carrington obtained her number, but she claimed that when she asked Carrington about the matter, they responded by saying “we have ways of locating that information.” She co-sued in the class action lawsuit.

Much like Rick, Vanessa claimed to have received multiple automated calls a week from Carrington on a cell phone that was never volunteered. The parallels in these cases led attorneys to believe that this was likely a pattern of behavior from Carrington, resulting in the class action lawsuit. If any of this sounds similar to an experience you have gone through, regardless of whether or not Carrington was involved, call us at (614)-944-5219.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Have You Received a Junk Fax from a Business, or from Careworks?

Have You Received a Junk Fax from a Business, or from Careworks?

Have you received a junk fax from Careworks offering to enroll your company in its workers’ compensation program? Have you received a junk fax from another company trying to sell you something? If so, please contact our law firm today.

Junk faxes are illegal. A company cannot use your fax machine, toner, paper, electricity, time, and wear to print their advertisements for them. If you have been on the receiving end of these annoying and illegal faxes, please call our law firm today at 614-944-5219. Please ask for Mr. Doucet.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Firm Sues Law Firm Kaman & Cusimano

Firm Sues Law Firm Kaman & Cusimano

Doucet & Associates, a small firm dedicated to protecting the rights of the consumer, has filed a lawsuit against Kaman & Cusimano, LLC, for violating the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) by selling Doucet’s client’s home without giving her the opportunity to pay back the amounts owed.

Kaman & Cusimano, LLC, represent the Coventry Manor Condominium Association. According to the lawsuit, in April of 2010, Coventry Manor filed a complaint in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to foreclosure condominium lien against Doucet’s client for past due condo fees. Coventry Manor was granted a default judgment and a decree of foreclosure.

Coventry Manor did little with the decree of foreclosure for two years until the fall of 2012, when Coventry Manor requested a legal document ordering the sale of the condo. According to the lawsuit, the condo was appraised and put in a sheriff’s auction, all without Doucet’s client’s knowledge. The condo did not sell until a year later, and for less than half of what the homeowner had originally paid for it.

A month later the homeowner learned about the sale. She retained foreclosure counsel and contacted Kaman & Cusimano to find out the payoff amount in order to redeem her home by paying the Association in full. Kama allegedly sent her a letter stating her right to redeem her home had expired three days after the sale was made — a claim the lawsuit alleges is untrue. They neglected to include a payoff quote, and the sale of the home was then confirmed by the court before the homeowner was given that final opportunity to pay off the Association dues.

Doucet’s client claims Kaman & Cusimano violated the FDCPA by falsely stating she had forfeited her right to redeem her home, as well as obstructing her rights by not including a payoff quote. She is suing for actual, emotional, statutory and other damages in addition to attorney fees and the cost of moving from her condo.

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.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Wells Fargo Admits to Wrongful Conduct in Mortgage

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.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!