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CFPB Clarifies Limits on Pay-to-Pay, Other Debt Collector Charges

July 7, 2022

A new CFPB advisory opinion not only clarifies when “pay-to-pay” fees are prohibited, but also whether a wide array of other debt collector charges violate the FDCPA. This article provides numerous examples of potentially illegal debt collector charges under the just-announced standards. A Truth in Lending Act provision provides even stronger remedies for fees added to automated payments for credit card debt.

FDCPA Litigation Using New Reg. F: Pleading Tips & Recently Alleged Violations

June 15, 2022

This article provides ten pleading tips when bringing Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims based on the new requirements found in CFPB Regulation F. The article then surveys recent federal court complaints alleging Regulation F violations as indicative of the violation patterns emerging in the six months since the Regulation’s effective date. The article links to the full text of complaints illustrating the types of violations being alleged.

Groundbreaking Ruling: No FTC Holder Rule Cap on Attorney Fee Awards

June 2, 2022

A May 26 California Supreme Court decision is the most important interpretation of the FTC Holder Rule in 45 years, setting out in detail reasons why the rule does not cap a consumer’s attorney fee award against the creditor. This article describes the decision’s significance to consumer litigation, explains how the ruling applies in other states, and lists twelve other important features of the FTC Holder Rule.

Shocker: Supreme Court Limits Policy Favoring Arbitration

May 27, 2022

On May 22, the Supreme Court overruled nine circuits in holding that a defendant’s waiver of arbitration must be treated like any other contractual right. No showing of prejudice to the plaintiff need be shown. This article examines the decision and arbitration waiver law generally. Importantly, also considered are the decision’s implications to assist a broad array of challenges to arbitration requirements.

Supreme Court Supports Equitable Tolling to Extend Legal Deadlines

April 26, 2022

This article examines an April 21, 2022, Supreme Court decision with important application to the equitable tolling of limitations periods found in federal consumer statutes. The article explains when equitable tolling should be available, lists actions justifying equitable tolling, and considers other approaches to extending limitations periods, including the fraud discovery rule.

New Federal Benefit Provides Affordable Broadband Access

April 18, 2022

This article examines the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) access to broadband for low-income household. The article explains what the ACP offers, who can obtain benefits, and how to apply. With over 11.5 million households already enrolled in ACP, consumer practitioners need to know how to help clients with enrollment and to advise those already enrolled as to their rights. As the COVID...

LIBOR’s Death Will Soon Impact $1.4 Trillion in Consumer Contracts

March 29, 2022

The most widely used index for adjustable-rate consumer contracts, the LIBOR, will soon cease to exist. This article explains new legal requirements that will apply when creditors are forced to change the index and margin on $1.4 trillion of adjustable-rate consumer contracts—millions of home mortgages, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), credit cards, and private student loans. March 15 federal...

12 Ways to Fight Foreclosure of Zombie Second Mortgages

March 28, 2022

As the name suggests, zombie mortgages can be terrifying. They rise from the dead, appear without warning, and seize homes. And they are appearing now more than ever. This article explains what they are, why they are now such a problem, and twelve ways homeowners can stop foreclosures of zombie mortgages. For even more detail, see a new Chapter 11a in NCLC’s Home Foreclosures. What Are Zombie...

Bringing Federal Consumer Claims in State Court: A 50-State Analysis of Standing Rules

March 27, 2022

The Supreme Court’s decision in TransUnion L.L.C. v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190 (2021), creates serious constitutional standing obstacles for consumer litigation in federal court, particularly for class actions and claims seeking statutory damages. As explained in another NCLC article, Ramirez held that a credit reporting agency’s false identification of class members as terrorists did not cause...

Holding Off Foreclosures While Homeowners Await Billions in HAF Payments

March 8, 2022

Only about half the states are now accepting homeowner applications for payments from the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), and few funds so far have been distributed. At the same time, because of the end of many COVID-19 related homeowner protections, large numbers of homeowners may soon face foreclosure. This article explains which homeowners are eligible for HAF payments and explores solutions...

Congressional, First Circuit, CFPB, and VA Actions Affecting Fair Credit Reporting

February 18, 2022

A Congressional amendment, a First Circuit decision, two CFPB administrative issuances, a CFPB report, and a Veterans Administration rule all will have significant consequences for consumer reporting under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This article provides the highlights of these recent developments and their implications for consumers, advocates, and FCRA practitioners.

Hidden Consumer Rights and Remedies Regarding Private Student Loans

February 10, 2022

Widespread misrepresentation about private student loans not being dischargeable in bankruptcy leads to significant consumer remedies. This article explains how to tell if a private student loan is dischargeable in bankruptcy, and sets out remedies where creditors misrepresent that a loan is non-dischargeable or continue collection after a bankruptcy discharges the loan. Other claims are listed against private student loan lenders.

Consumer Advice Dealing with Debt Collectors—Including the New Federal Rules

January 31, 2022

This article provides advice to consumers in dealing with debt collectors, taking into consideration new consumer rights and new consumer risks flowing from federal rules that just went into effect on November 30, 2021. The article: provides nine ways to stop debt harassment, with sample letters; explains the limits of what collectors can really do; and lists illegal debt collection conduct that can lead to consumer claims.

New Student Loan Discharges, Restitution, and Payment Pause Extension

January 25, 2022

This article explains the implications two new student loan developments. A Navient settlement discharges on average $25,000 of debt for 66,000 private student loan borrowers and provides $260 restitution to 365,000 federal Direct Loan borrowers. The Department of Education has extended its suspension of federal student loan payments until May 1, 2022, with the balance accruing at zero percent interest.

Defenses to Collection of Rental Debt

January 13, 2022

This article provides tenant tactics to deal with rental debt: responding to negative tenant screening reports that prevent access to new housing; challenging the rental amount claimed as due; other defenses to rental debt collection lawsuits and eight ways for the tenant to recover attorney fees in that litigation; tenant rights after a court judgment for the landlord; and tenants’ affirmative litigation for the collector’s litigation abuse.

Consumer Law Rights Taking Effect In 2022

December 29, 2021

In 2022 significant new federal and state consumer law rights will be effective, and other rights are set to expire or have been extended. This article sets out, as of January 1, 2022, the effective dates for all of these changes, including changes effective from November 30, 2021 through January 1, 2023.

Free Access to Just-Updated Chapter on COVID-Related Homeowner Protections

December 7, 2021

This article provides links to the latest COVID-related homeowner protections for different types of mortgages and homeowner financial circumstances. Links go to an extensively updated NCLC chapter, which is, for a limited time, free to the public. Also linked is a discussion of an important foreclosure defense based on servicer noncompliance with these homeowner protections.