DEBT COLLECTORS OR CREDITORS BLOWING UP YOUR CELLPHONE WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION? YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT–”TCPA”–AND YOU NEED A LAWYER WHO HANDLES THESE CASES…LIKE ME!

Hello Readers,
I just wanted to let you know that we are officially handling TCPA cases. These are cases where creditors or debt collectors “blow up” your cellphone–make repeated calls to it without your permission.
REMEMBER, AND REMEMBER WELL: NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE A DEBT COLLECTOR OR A CREDITOR YOUR CELLPHONE NUMBER!!!!! Do I need to repeat? I hope not.
If a debt collector or creditor “blows up” your cellphone (makes repeated calls to it without permission), you can sue and you can make some righteous dinero in the process. TCPA is a federal law with considerable teeth. Translated: you make money, my firm makes money, debt collector or creditor pays out money.
WHAT TO DO: proof in these cases, like any other case, is obviously critical. If a creditor or debt collector starts “blowing up” your cellphone, you must obtain and keep records of the calls. Contact your cell company if your bills will show incoming calls (most cellphone bills will show incoming calls); if you cannot do that for any reason, take a camera and take a screen shot of your call log on your cellphone to show the call. If you need to get a newspaper of that day or whatever to show the date, then so be it, but take picture and preserve the evidence.
The statutory penalty for violations can be $1,000 per call, so yes, we can take these cases on a contingency.
And your cellphone will once again be quiet…well, at least it will be free of debt collectors and creditors.
Call us if you have any questions on this. Thanks for reading.
Bob Brennan

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What if a Creditor or Debt Collector Offers to Change Your Credit Reporting from Delinquent to “Paid in Full” or “Settled in Full” in Exchange for Payment? PLEASE DON’T FALL FOR THIS TRICK!!!!!

Negotiating with a creditor or debt collector? What do you do if creditor/collector offers to change your credit reporting from “delinquent” to “paid in full” or “settled in full”? Just FYI, both are highly derogatory credit marks and will damage your credit score just as much as a delinquent payment. Better solution: negotiate for a complete deletion of the tradeline, i.e. negotiate for deletion of any reference to the account whatsoever on your credit reports. This comment from Chi Chi Wu, credit expert and goddess with the National Consumer Law Center in Boston: “Key is to negotiate the deletion if the entire trade. This is called “pay for deletion” -ie my client will pay if you remove the entire tradeline. You may get resistance or a rejection of this proposal from the furnisher. They may even claim it’s illegal (it’s not in my opinion). The willingness to do this will probably depend on whether the furnisher is a debt collector or the original creditor.”

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ARE YOU OUT OF LUCK IF YOU DON’T NOTIFY YOUR BANK ABOUT A DEBIT-CARD IDENTITY THEFT WITHIN 48 HOURS? POSITIVELY NOT! YOU ARE PROTECTED BY THE CALIFORNIA IDENTITY THEFT LAW.

Happy 2014, Readers!

I get frequent inquiries from victims of debit card identity theft. With the recent situation at Target Stores, which indeed involved a lot of debit cards, this topic is ripe for some candid discussion.

A lot of credit experts, quite a few of them I respect, have been advising consumers to monitor their debit cards closely and to report any sign of identity theft right away. This is correct advice, whether you are dealing with debit cards or credit cards.

However, my agreement with this advice stops at that point, because quite a few of these same experts believe that you lose your rights if you don’t report an ID theft on your debit card to your bank within 48 or 72 hours. At least in California, this is not true.

California consumers are protected by the California Identity Theft Law, wherein consumers must first obtain a police report or a DMV identity theft report and provide it to their bank, along with very complete detail of which charges to their checking/savings account are identity theft charges. Under the California Identity Theft Law, consumers have FOUR YEARS to do this, technically. While I would never counsel anyone to wait four years, this is certainly less restrictive than the 48 hours or the 72 hours that the banks give you.

If the bank does not re-credit your account after presenting the Police report or DMV report, along with a complete listing of the identity theft charges, then yes, you have rights under the California Identity Theft law, which include all of your damages, the potential of a civil penalty of up to $30,000 and your attorney’s fees paid by the bank.

So, if your bank does not re-credit you for an ID theft on your debit card, and you take the steps I have outlined in this short article, please contact us and we can help. Remember always to keep copies of any documents you provide to the bank, and if you use the mails, always use certified mail.

I hope this helps you get off to a great start for 2014!

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CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORTS FOR MIS-REPORTING STATUS OF PAID JUDGMENTS!

CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORTS FOR MIS-REPORTING OF PAID JUDGMENTS! Credit bureau TransUnion today agreed to settle a class action in Virginia for $1.4mm, where the main allegation was that TU had failed to accurately report paid judgments as paid. If you have an paid judgment being listed as “unpaid” on your credit report, this will hurt your credit score. Check this with all bureaus. And yes, we handle these cases.

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You Cannot Get a Credit Report In Your Native Language? Yes, We are Looking Into These Cases!

ByRobert F. Brennan.

Happy December one and all, and I hope all of you have a great holiday season.

Currently credit reports from the major bureaus are available only in English. The reports are hard enough to interpret even for English speakers, so not providing them in at least some of the other major languages spoken in the U.S.–Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Russian–seems, shall we say, a bit unfair.

I am well aware that a lot of my friends hold the belief that English is spoken in this country, so you’d better learn English. I’m really not getting into that debate at this point. My response to this sentiment is that NO ONE CHOOSES TO HAVE A CREDIT REPORT. Whether rich or poor, English-speaking or not, black, yellow, brown or white, NO ONE CHOOSES TO HAVE THE CREDIT BUREAUS COMPILE CREDIT REPORTS ON THEM. So, given that we get no choice whatsoever in whether we even have a credit report, shouldn’t the bureaus provide credit reports in more than just English for the many consumers for whom English is not their first, nor their best, language? Seems fair to me, as a person needs to be able to understand his or her credit report to fix any errors in it.

So, if you or your friends are having troubles with the bureaus because you cannot get a credit report in your native language, yes, we are looking into these cases.

And I am more than aware of the irony of writing this blog post in English. Perhaps some good people out there will help translate.

Thanks for reading.

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California Lemon Law and Your Cellphone: Why You Need to Take Pictures Whenever You Have a Mechanical Failure

Welcome to December. I hope you have had a good 2013 and I hope 2014 will be even better!

These days, cars are virtual computers on wheels. Like all computers, car computers crash. Some or all of the car’s functions cease. Usually this can be only briefly or it may affect a system which is not all that important. However, sometimes computer crashes can cause serious safety hazards–cars stalling at traffic speeds, brake or transmission failures, etc.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT for you to IMMEDIATELY take out your cellphone and take a picture of the dash lights if this ever happens to you. We are reviewing a series of cases presently where this happened to the vehicle owners, but they have no evidence, other than their own testimony, of what happened. When they took the vehicles into the dealers for repairs, the dealers reported that they were unable to find any problems and that the computers had not stored any computer codes indicating any faults or defects.

More and more, it is SO IMPORTANT for you to take a picture of the vehicle while it is having its malfunction. If you cannot show the vehicle having the malfunction, at least take a picture of the dashlights, so there is documentation of what occurred on the dashboard.

Your California lemon law case may well depend on it. These days, almost all of the problems with cars are computer-related, and thus intermittent. It is critical for you to document the problem as best you can, to preserve your rights under the California lemon law.

I hope this short blog post helps you! Thanks for reading.

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FALSE CRIMINAL HISTORY ON BACKGROUND CHECKS: A GROWING SCOURGE.

Background checks are a part of life now. Whenever you are applying for a job, for an apartment, for a promotion or for insurance, you can basically bet on the fact that someone will be pulling a background check report on you.

Recently, one of my single lady friends told me that she pulls background check reports on any of the guys that her girlfriends are dating. She says it’s a great way to make sure that the guys are not total psychos and are telling the truth.

There are, however, many problems with these background checks. They OFTEN carry false information about a person. There are many types of false information, some of it probably harmless, but one type which is anything but harmless is false information of criminal history.

The companies which compile background checks are usually in a hurry to gather and assemble the information, and do not take the time to really make sure that the information is accurate. If you have a similar name or other similar identifying information to a criminal, it can occur that his or her criminal history will end up on your background check. This can cost you a job, a promotion, a career, an apartment, insurance…a girlfriend or a boyfriend…you name it!

Here is the “Golden Rule” whenever you apply for an apartment, a job or insurance: you NEED to check the box on the application which permits you to obtain a copy of any background check which is run on you in connection with the application. If there is no box to check, provide the person running the background check with a letter, indicating that you are formally requesting a complete copy of any background check which is run on you.

If there is any false information on the background report, DO NOT OVERLOOK IT, even if it seems trivial. It could mean that, at least to some extent, your personal information is being mixed up with someone else’s.

If you find false information, write to the company that provided the background report, via certified mail, instructing them to correct the false information and also providing them with any documents or evidence showing that the information is false.

If the company does not correct the report promptly, please contact my law firm. You will often need and attorney to handle these situations. However, the good news is, under California law, you can get money damages when a company does not correct your background report after you notify them, and you can get your fees paid by the background report company. In other words, my firm can probably handle the case on a contingency basis.

Please contact us if you have any questions about this. Thanks for reading!

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YOU DO NOT NEED CREDIT MONITORING SERVICES, UNLESS THEY ARE FREE TO YOU!

YOU DO NOT NEED CREDIT MONITORING SERVICES!!!!! Recently, Adobe got hacked and sent an email to its subscribers, offering (at a cost) the Experian Credit Monitoring Service to those who got hacked. Of course the victim would have to pay Experian. Good marketing, huh! Well, there is a big problem with the credit monitoring services: BINDING ARBITRATION! You lose your rights to sue in court under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), and the agreement you inadvertently sign essentially takes away your rights under FCRA. CREDIT MONITORING IS UNNECESSARY.

This is a short note from Chi Chi Wu, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center in Boston and a recognized national expert on credit reporting and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, on this subject:

“We generally advise consumers not to pay for a credit monitoring service. In addition to the arb issue, they don’t seem like a good “value” proposition. (of course, if it is free, then that’s a different story)

“If a consumer is concerned after a security breach about ID theft, we usually advise placing a security freeze instead. But I am not sure if a breach of credit card information would lead to “new account” ID theft, although would be interested to hear if it does.”

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Experian Caught Selling Personal Identifying Information to Third Parties and Fraudsters

Here’s an itty-bitty story that, over time, will snowball into a HUGE data-breach story. Yes, folks, as explained in the article below, Experian sold your confidential information, including your social security numbers, to third parties who are in turn selling ID theft services. Experian also sells ID theft services. Can you say Irony? It’s worth writing to them (certified mail) to find out if your personal information was among that which was sold.

Here’s the link–paste it into your browser.

http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/10/experian-sold-consumer-data-to-id-theft-service/#more-22951

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Lemon Alert: BMW X-5, Transmission Defects

To my readers,

We are handling BMW X-5 cases with faulty transmissions, which can show up as hard jerking or hesitation in the lower gears and when taking off from a stop. If you have one of these or know of someone who does, call us at (888) 453-6665.

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