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Manassas Consumer Protection Blog

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! 

Example of damage award under Virginia Consumer Protection Act

Here at the law firm of Thomas R. Breeden, P.C., we fight for consumers who have been wronged in unfair commercial transactions to their detriment. An important tool for protecting consumers in Virginia is the broadly reaching Virginia Consumer Protection Act or VCPA. 

We recently wrote an article introducing the main provisions and remedies within the VCPA. As we said there, this legislation provides Virginians the right to sue merchants that have caused financial loss through a variety of fraudulent or deceptive transactions.

Facts about the lemon law

You may have been searching for that car for a long time. It is the perfect color, body style, make, model and the price is right. But buying a car can cost you much more than you ever expected. Especially if the car you are buying does not work properly. It is called a lemon or a dud.

Federal tax treatment of alimony to change after 75 years of stability

Major changes take effect in 2019.

The new federal tax bill will make major changes to the tax treatment of alimony, which has remained unchanged since 1942. Currently, every dollar of alimony paid is deductable by the paying ex-spouse, reducing his or her taxable income by that amount and thereby reducing his or her tax bill. This will remain true for divorces finalized, or valid prenuptial or separation agreements resolving alimony arrangements signed, through the end of 2018. Beginning with 2019 divorces, prenuptial or separation agreements, alimony paid will no longer be deductable on federal returns.

To be safe, if in 2018 a couple signs a prenuptial or separation agreement in which they agree to alimony terms, it is recommended to have the state court affirm it in a court order before 2019.

Part 2: Stale-debt collection efforts that could violate the FDCPA

Federal law protects consumers against abusive debt collectors.

The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, often referred to as the FDCPA, is a consumer protection law that shields people from abusive or deceptive debt collection activity. Here we will discuss the protections of the FDCPA when a debt collector tries to collect on a stale debt such as an old credit card balance that is time barred because the statute of limitations has run.

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10326 Lomond Drive
Manassas, VA 20109

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