What is Ohio Protects?

What is Ohio Protects? is where you can report scams, ID theft, fraud, and file a complaint about a service or business in Ohio. By reporting a scam, ID theft, or filing a complaint you may help other consumers from being taken advantage of by a business in Ohio...

Credit Report Agencies Forced to Refund Consumers $17.7 Million

TransUnion and Equifax are refunding $17.7 million to consumers and paying $5.5 million in fines for giving consumers misleading and deceptive credit scores.

Five Steps: How to Correct a Credit Report Error

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit reporting agencies such as TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax to provide accurate information to lenders.  If information appearing in your credit report is inaccurate, the FCRA gives you the right to challenge that inaccurate information. 

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.


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Are You Getting Your New Home Inspected?

Are You Getting Your New Home Inspected?

A home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying. After an offer is accepted in the home buying process, the contract usually details how much time a new homeowner has to get an inspection and negotiate repairs.

What to do before an inspection?

It is important for new homeowners to inspect inside and outside parts of the house for damage before the professional inspection.  The landscape, drains, grading and possible retaining walls should also be examined.  This will prepare a new homeowner to ask the inspector questions while attending the inspection. Inspections can last a few hours so do not feel bad about asking too many questions.

What should a new homeowner expect to learn in an inspection?

An inspection can inform new homeowners of electrical malfunctions, appliance life expectancy, plumbing issues, future repairs, and structural problems with the walls, roof, basement, ceilings, and the foundation. Inspectors can also offer advise on how to maintain a home and its unique features and machinery.

How to choose a home inspector?

Homeowners want inspectors that are experienced and detailed oriented. It is also important to ensure they have a bond or professional errors and omissions insurance. A Real estate agent can suggest an inspector, but homeowners should still do their own research. Ohio does not have a law that requires home inspectors to have a license. There are however certified programs and classes inspectors may take. Asking relatives and friends who own homes for recommendations, checking websites, and reading reviews can help make a homeowner feel confident about choosing an inspector. Researching early on in the home buying process can help a homeowner secure a preferred inspector.

How much does an inspection cost?

An inspection may cost anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. It is important to verify with the inspector everything that is included in an inspection package and ask for a sample report. The more detailed the report the higher the cost. The larger landscape, drains, grading and retaining walls could raise the cost of the inspection. Home inspectors are usually not licensed to give advice regarding pest control, chemicals or gases, so hiring a professional in a more specific area may be needed.

The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help homeowners in a consumer litigation lawsuit if a home inspector failed to provide promised information. Contact us at (614)944-5219 today or send us a message on our website by clicking here.


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Credit Reports are Improving Since the Housing Crisis

Credit Reports are Improving Since the Housing Crisis

Homeowners that suffered from foreclosure during the housing crisis and Great Recession are starting to get their foreclosure histories taken off their credit reports. Removing foreclosure from a credit report can make it easier for a consumer to increase their credit score. Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. helps consumers’ correct errors on their credit reports and assists homeowners fight foreclosure.

The Great Recession refers to the economic decline during the financial crisis and the housing crisis that happened between 2007 and 2009. The rise of unemployment during the financial crisis caused many homeowners to fall into foreclosure, which negatively impacted their credit reports. Foreclosure stays on a consumer credit report for seven years.

There are many reasons that simultaneously caused the recession. The rise in foreclosures and drop in number of people buying homes at that time led to the United States housing bubble collapsing. The prices of homes were dropping, current homeowners were struggling to pay back mortgages, and people were frantically looking for jobs after being laid off. The recession left many Americans with long-lasting consequences.

If your foreclosure history is not being removed from your credit report, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants consumers the right to write a letter asking the credit reporting agency investigate the error. The removal of foreclosure from a credit report is going to influence consumers getting approved for lower interest rates.  If the credit reporting agency is denying your request to have foreclosure cleared from your credit report after seven years the lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can provide legal assistance. Contact us today at (614)-944-5219.


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Do You Want to Improve Your Credit Score?

Do You Want to Improve Your Credit Score?

Experian estimated Columbus, Ohio’s average credit score to be 666 in 2015. That is only three points below the 669 national average. If your credit score falls below these averages, there are steps you can take as a consumer to gain some points. The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can also offer advice about the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and how to correct problems on your credit report.


Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

1.You should first check your credit report for errors using at least one of the three main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Your credit score may differ a little on each report based on resources the agency used to develop your score. If there is an error on your credit report, the FCRA says you can send a letter to the credit reporting agency asking for the error to be corrected. If the credit reporting agency fails to correct the error, you can contact Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. for help on correcting your report or read more about the FCRA on our website by clicking here and they may have to pay our fees. Correcting the errors on your credit report can improve your credit score.

2.Get a credit card. Having a credit card shows that a creditor can trust you to pay back borrowed money. If you use the credit card correctly without developing debt, then you can increase your credit score.

3.Pay off your credit card debt. Some people cannot pay off all their debt in one payment. If that is the situation for you, stop using your credit cards and focus on minimizing your debt by making the required minimum payments every month.

4.Pay your bills on time. This includes all bills such as credit card bills, utility bills, medical bills and student bills. Failure to pay bills on time lowers your credit score.

5.Ask for a raise on your credit card limit. Getting a raise does not mean you have to spend more on your credit card, but shows that your creditors trust you more.

6.Get involved in paying off different types of loans, whether it is all at the same time or separately. Your credit score can be improved if you have history of accurately paying off a credit card, an auto loan, student loans and a home mortgage loan. If you encounter problems paying off a home mortgage loan the lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. have experience helping homeowners secure loan modifications and fighting foreclosure lawsuits.


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