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Consumer Law Rights Taking Effect or Extended into 2021

In 2021 many significant consumer law changes will be effective and a number of programs that were to expire have been extended. This article sets out those changes and extensions that are scheduled as of January 1, 2021, including changes effective from December 1, 2020 through January 1, 2022.

The FDCPA Year in Review: 2020

This article reviews a very active 2020 concerning the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The article focuses on two sets of final Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules on the FDCPA, one published in November and the other announced in December, and then summarizes all of the relevant 2020 circuit court of appeals FDCPA cases.

New Consumer Bankruptcy Protections Now Effective

This article explains the new consumer bankruptcy protections found in the Consolidated Appropriations Act that were effective December 27, 2020: the availability of a chapter 13 discharge despite missed payments, protection of stimulus payments from the bankruptcy trustee, no discrimination of debtors in bankruptcy from CARES Act protections, continued utility service without a deposit, and more.

Consumer Warranty Law, Sixth Edition, Now Available in Print + Digital Formats

Consumer Warranty Law (6th ed. January 2021) (1,012 pp.) is now available in both print and digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. It is the definitive consumer litigation treatise concerning defective new and used cars (including leased vehicles), manufactured homes, new homes, home improvements, automobile repairs, service contracts, assistive devices, and more. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here.

Limits on Collection of Time-Barred Debt and the New FDCPA Rules

New rules interpreting the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that go into effect November 30, 2021, are a good reason to review existing law as to suits and collection contacts concerning time-barred debt. This article discusses those aspects of the new rules related to time-barred debt and also provides an overview of existing law in the area.

Debunking Claims TCPA Unconstitutional for Robocalls from 2015 to 2020

This article provides a summary and link to a Public Justice paper that debunks claims (successful in two district courts and popping up everywhere now) that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is unconstitutional as applied to all robocalls from 2015 to July 6, 2020.

Protecting Wages, Benefits, and Bank Accounts from Judgment Creditors

Financial distress exacerbated by the current epidemic will soon result in millions of judgments against consumers in collection lawsuits. This article details federal and particularly state law exemptions and other protections and strategies that limit these judgment creditors from garnishing consumer wages and freezing and seizing consumer bank accounts. Additional key resources are also listed.

Major Consumer Protections Announced in Response to COVID-19

This article lists a growing number of actions Congress, governors, federal and state agencies, and companies are taking to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic: suspensions on foreclosures, evictions, and terminations on telecommunications and utility service, elimination of interest and forbearance on student loan payments and home mortgages, and more. Updated: Aug. 13, 2020

Essential Reading for FDCPA Practitioners

Almost every FDCPA (as well as TCPA, FCRA, and TILA) case these days faces a Spokeo challenge. All consumer litigant in federal court must understand the latest Spokeo rulings. This article provides a survey of all circuit court FDCPA Spokeo rulings, as well as setting out key strategic decisions in bringing federal court consumer claims.

Sup. Ct. Sets Standard for Consumer Relief for Collection on Debt Discharged in Bankruptcy

On June 3, the Supreme Court set the standard for consumer recovery of damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees for collection of debts discharged in bankruptcy. This article also explains that judgments on discharged debts are void, describes the advantages of FDCPA remedies, and provides a comparison between remedies for automatic stay violations and discharge violations.

Supreme Court: Class & Federal Claims Can Stay in State Court

A Supreme Court May 28 ruling supports the right of consumers sued in state court to avoid removal to federal court when they bring class or federal claims in that state court action, even against third parties. As examined in this article, the ruling gives consumers some control over the decision whether to litigate in state or federal court.

Supreme Court May 13 Ruling Underscores Advantages of False Claims Act Litigation

A recent Supreme Court decision in Cochise Consultancy is favorable for private litigation under the federal False Claims Act (FCA). This article explains how the decision also underscores that FCA litigation has a number of advantages to challenge consumer abuses compared with class actions under traditional consumer causes of action.

Increase of Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions, Other Dollar Amounts: April 1, 2019

Effective April 1, consumers filing bankruptcy will be able to exempt more of their equity in their homes, cars, household goods, and even retirement accounts. This article describes all the bankruptcy dollar amount changes going into effect April 1.

Getting Money Back for Scammed Consumers

This article explains scammed consumers’ best approaches to retrieve their money, depending on the method used for its payment. The article covers unusual payment methods preferred by scammers, such as gift cards, wires, prepaid cards, remotely created payment orders, express mail of cash and money orders, and not just credit or debit cards.

December 1 Changes to Bankruptcy Rules, Forms, and Fees

This article reviews four amendments to the bankruptcy rules, a number of changes to the bankruptcy forms, and filing fee and other fee increases that all take effect on December 1, 2020. One of the rule changes has the potential for cost savings for debtors and their attorneys in chapter 13 cases. Also of note, filing fees for chapter 7 and 13 cases are increasing modestly.

Consumer Credit Regulation, Third Edition, Now Available in Print + Digital Formats

Consumer Credit Regulation (3d ed. November 2020) (1040 pp.) is now available in both print and digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. This treatise covers credit cards, payday loans, auto finance, and other non-mortgage credit. Subscribe now for instant access to this treatise. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here.

Collection Actions, Fifth Edition, Now Available in Print + Digital Formats

Collection Actions (5th ed. Oct. 2020) (778 pp.) is now available in both print and digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. This is the definitive manual on defending lawsuits to collect credit card and other consumer debt, including special tactics for medical, government, and criminal justice debt. Subscribe now for instant access to this treatise. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here.

New Rights for Homeowners Exiting COVID-19 Forbearances

A new CFPB interim final rule provides an exception for mortgage servicer compliance with loss mitigation evaluations for borrowers exiting a COVID-19 forbearance, but only if the borrowers are given important rights. This article explains that forborne payments are deferred, interest free, until the end of the loan term, no fees can be charged, any delinquency is canceled, and the borrower can still apply for alternative loss mitigation.

Credit Discrimination Statutes Offer Underutilized Consumer Remedies

A September 3, 2020, HUD action to limit Fair Housing Act disparate impact claims underscores the underutilized power of credit discrimination statutes to remedy marketplace misconduct affecting communities of color and other vulnerable consumers. This article describes the power, broad scope, and varied applications of federal and state credit discrimination statutes, and also sets out the implications for consumer lawyers of the HUD rule change.

New July Student Loan Rule Amendments: What Changes and What Does Not

New U.S. Department of Education rules, effective July 1, 2020, create complexity as to applicable requirements concerning the borrower defense discharge, the closed school discharge, and school use of mandatory arbitration clauses. This article explains varying rules for loans issued prior to July 1, 2017, from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020, and after July 1, 2020.