Thomas R. Breeden, P.C. Attorney At Law
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Manassas Consumer Protection Blog

Runaway medical bills haunt many Virginians

It is common knowledge that many people face insurmountable hospital and medical bills. Even with the Affordable Care Act and expanded Medicaid, health insurance policies often include high deductibles and restrictive networks. Some families still cannot afford insurance and others face unexpected emergencies.

Readers may have seen Kaiser Health News’ recent investigative journalism into the collection practices of the University of Virginia Health System, referred to as UVA. KHN found that the health care provider has sued “thousands of patients” and engages regularly in collection activities like garnishing wages, seizing state tax refunds and placing liens on homes and other properties.

Equifax identity theft settlement could help 4 million Virginians

Identity theft can be a nightmare if the thief uses your personal identifying information to fraudulently rack up charges in your name, potentially harming your credit and forcing you to fight against those seeking to collect those wrongful debts. In addition, the thief could try to access your bank accounts and other assets.

The harmful ramifications of these kinds of fraud can be far reaching. As you fight with the credit bureaus to correct negative impact on your credit rating, those mistaken black marks against you that make you look like a credit risk could affect your ability to get a job, loan, lease, security clearance or college admission.

SCOTUS says FDCPA does not apply to nonjudicial foreclosure

We posted a blog previously about an important consumer protection case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. We explained that the issue was whether the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act — the main federal law extending legal protections against abusive debt collectors to consumers — applied to a Colorado law firm that had initiated a nonjudicial foreclosure.

In that post, we covered the issues in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP in detail as related to the FDCPA and whether a party is a debt collector that is governed by the Act’s provisions, including being subject to a suit for money damages by a consumer who was the victim of illegal collection practices.

Lawmakers take on phone spoofing of Virginia consumers

A senior citizen in Manassas picks up the phone to hear that her grandson is in jail and she needs to wire money to get him released. Another unsuspecting Virginian receives an unexpected call from his “Internet provider” asking for his credit card or bank account number to secure service to rid his computer of a virus. A Northern Virginia teen eagerly gives her Social Security number to the hotel chain that has called to offer her a free vacation.

All these are common fraudulent attempts to gain access to the consumers’ funds or credit accounts or to steal their identities.

Has a student loan servicer violated fair debt collection law?

Student loans are a serious concern for many Americans. According to Forbes, more than 44 million people owe about $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S.

This debt may feel overwhelming, and you could be struggling to make student loan payments. The good news is if you are struggling with payments, you are protected against some debt collection practices through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA prohibits certain predatory behaviors by debt collectors. Here is what you need to know.

Does the FDCPA protect consumers in non-judicial foreclosure?

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case this term which will determine whether the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) applies to non-judicial home foreclosures. Specifically, the case will examine the role of law firms seeking non-judicial foreclosure of residential homes, and whether they are 'debt collectors' under the law.

Victimized Virginia consumer may sue both in fraud and under VCPA

We represent Virginia consumers harmed by deceitful merchants, service providers or suppliers in commercial transactions. In a recent post, we talked about a lawsuit in which a merchant harmed the plaintiff financially in an interior-design services transaction. In that case, the court found that the provider had violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act or VCPA when it billed for flawed or unauthorized furniture purchases and for price markups without permission. 

In addition to the VCPA violations, the court also held that the defendant had been in breach of contract and had engaged in the infliction of emotional distress, both claims under Virginia state law separate from the VCPA legislation. As we said, this is a good example of how an injured consumer can recover, if appropriate, under the VCPA and under other state-law claims for harm from the same transaction.

Successful Defense in a Zombie Debt Buyer Case

We had another happy client, defending him from a zombie debt buyer.

Back in 2007, the client lost his home to foreclosure. At the time, he had a second mortgage on his home which he also defaulted on. Years went by, and he heard nothing from the second mortgage company. He was able to rebuild his life and get another house. In Virginia, the statute of limitations, or time frame within which a lawsuit can be brought to collect a written debt is 5 years from the date of breach. So by the end of 2012, any rights that the second mortgage company had to come after the debt died a peaceful death. Unfortunately, there are companies out there who like to resurrect the dead debts - they are known in the industry as zombie debt buyers because of that practice. 

Excellent Verdict Received on our latest Car Dealer Fraud Case

We just had an excellent result in a consumer car fraud case against Koons of Woodbridge - a fairly large, multi location car dealership!

Our client went to Koons in October 2016 and looked at a used 2016 Lincoln MKX, with only 5,000 miles on it. Koons told her that the car came with the full factory bumper to bumper warranty, which would cover everything except routine maintenance. However, unknown to the client, the car had been in an accident prior to Koons purchasing it, and sustained significant damage. The car had originally been a rental car through Enterprise, but was in a wreck. Enterprise sold it at auction, and another company purchased it for $20,000, spent $4,500 in repairs, and then sold it at auction to Koons. Koons paid $29,300 for the car. There was a dispute regarding whether the auction disclosed to Koons that the car had structural damage - Koons denied receiving any such disclosure. The NADA fair market value for the car in an undamaged condition was $37,400. Koons sold this car to our client for $42,701 - a profit of $13,401, and a sales price $5,301 over book value for an undamaged car! 

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Thomas R. Breeden, P.C.
10326 Lomond Drive
Manassas, VA 20109

Phone: 703-659-0188
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Manassas, VA

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