Blog

Illinois Consumer Law Blog

  • Debt Collection Harassment: How to Protect Yourself

    As debt has become a profitable business, debt collection agencies have sprouted and thrived throughout the country. Unfortunately, these agencies and the debt collectors they employ can become overly aggressive in their efforts to collect money from debtors, sometimes to the point that they violate the law and the rights of consumers. It happens all the time. In fact, the problem of debt collection harassment is so prolific that it is the top ...
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released an Outline of Proposed Rules regarding debt collection within a 117-page document, some of which addresses voice messages and frequency of contact, which have been a hotly debated topic for years. One of the proposals regarding voicemail requires that collectors leave limited-content messages in their voicemails, in conversations with a third party, or through other methods of communication ...
  • Kevin DeOliveira-Longinetti was an honors student and talented athlete when he enrolled at the University of Vermont in 2009. According to CBS News, his goal was to become a doctor. But in January 2015, Kevin was found dead in his Burlington apartment. He had been shot in the head. Marcia, Kevin’s mother, was overcome with grief, anguish, and sadness – as well as the rest of the state. Electric bills and gas bills were forgiven, and ...
  • Case Law Update: Adams v. Fifth Third Bank

    A federal case from the U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky recently focused on a complaint filed by two plaintiffs who executed a note and mortgage with Fifth Third Bank. According to the original complaint, the mortgage lender filed a foreclosure action in Jefferson County, Kentucky against the two plaintiffs for unclear reasons, later dismissed the suit and released the mortgage through a Deed of Release, only to later sue the ...
  • 7 Ways You Can Sue a Debt Collector

    Most people want to pay off their debt; however, unfortunate circumstances in life can make it an extremely difficult task. On many occasions, a debt collector will work with those in debt and resolve the issue. However, not every debt collector follows the rules. Consumers can experience hostility in the form of harassing, frequent phone calls or threats. In order to protect customers from dealing with such behavior, here are seven occasions ...
  • Chicago Consumer Attorney and Sulaiman Law Group, LTD. Associate Jim Haller recently authored an opinion piece on student loan debt published by The Hill. The article – Trump is right: Student loan debt an ‘albatross’ on families, young people – focuses on the nation’s tremendous student loan debt problem, which has ballooned to nearly $1.3 trillion dollars and far surpasses credit card debt held by Americans. In his ...
  • In a case involving GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc., a motion for summary as to the claims raised against them by John Wick and Shirley Wick was granted in part and denied in part. In 2003, the Wicks purchased a single-family home for which they took out a $120,000 loan with Homecomings and executed a mortgage. However, soon after the purchase, Mr. Wick received a notice from Homecomings, informing him that an error was made in the amount in ...
  • In a federal case from the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, a federal judge denied a loan servicing company’s motion to dismiss a plaintiff’s claim that the company failed to comply with regulations established in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the loan servicing company failed to acknowledge receiving the plaintiff’s request for ...
  • In a bold move Tuesday, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to end its 18-year business relationship with Wells Fargo over concerns regarding the bank’s checkered history of unsavory business practices and its funding of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project. The measure was passed to cheers from local advocates and supporters who aim to set an example for other cities and businesses that may do business with Wells Fargo. ...
  • In 2009, Jennifer Castillo applied for a modification with her mortgage servicer at the time, Bank of America, which she received the following year after a dispute over the implementation of the modification. Before the modification was executed, Bank of America transferred the loan to Nationstar. The Castillos were assured that Nationstar would honor the modification, but their subsequent payments were all rejected, and Nationstar claimed the ...
  • Although foreclosure rates are significantly down from their historic numbers at the height of the housing market crash, experts have found that many foreclosure cases are still in limbo. According to a Planet Money story published by NPR, it’s also a lot of work to tie up loose ends for people who are still dealing with foreclosure proceedings initiated during the financial crisis. At the peak of the housing market collapse, banks across ...
  • Moody’s Corp. agreed to pay nearly $864 million to settle federal and state claims, acknowledging that they did not follow their own standards and inflated ratings to risky mortgage investments. $437.5 million will go to the Justice Department and $426.3 million will be divided between 21 states and the District of Columbia. Moody’s Corp. is the world’s second largest credit ratings agency and, in failing to rate the risk of ...
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a government agency that ensures consumers are treated fairly by lenders and financial companies, has finalized new rules that require loan servicers to offer more transparency and communication. Specifically, the rule will give homeowners, or those who have borrowed mortgages, the right to demand periodic reporting statements from banks or financial companies that service their loans. The new ...
  • The Dangers of a Reverse Mortgage

    Although the number of reverse mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) significantly dropped in the past year, from its high of 114,412 to 57,977, there is still a concern for seniors who took out reverse mortgages prior to the rule change Congress approved. The new rule offers seniors a repayment plan that will help past-due customers avoid foreclosure. However, people like Frederick Feil, who took out a ...
  • Don't Let Overspending Ruin Your Holiday

    During the holidays, we often feel the pressure of gift-giving. Not just any gift, but the perfect, in demand and, in all likelihood, expensive gift. It is a holiday so wrapped up in consumerism that much of its joy is replaced with the stress of spending more than one should. This is exactly what creditors hope for. It is, of course, in their best interests that you spend beyond your means. After all, they are not concerned with whether you ...
  • Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported that some mortgage servicers were violating the new servicing rules with their continued use of failed technology, which harms customers. The problems were specifically found in loss mitigation and servicing transfers, but the CFPB was adamant in stating that these mortgage servicers cannot hide behind outdated systems and that the rules must be enforced and followed. The ...
  • Wells Fargo Settles TCPA Class Action

    Wells Fargo Bank recently settled a class action lawsuit that alleged they called plaintiffs on their cell phones through an automatic telephone dialing system without permission, violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The calls were not emergencies, but rather debt-collection calls and texts. The TCPA states that telephone solicitations, such as telemarketing, or the use of any automated phone equipment are strictly prohibited. ...
  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s summary judgment in favor of a defendant regarding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which requires that a debt collector must send a consumer notice about specific disclosures within 5 days of communication about the debt collection. According to the panel, which reviewed the Hernandez v. Williams, Zinman & Parham, P.C. case, this requirement does not only ...
  • Hope For Student Debtors?

    Unlike other types of debt, student loans are notoriously known for being near impossible to discharge, with the debtor given the burden of proving that repaying the loan would cause “undue hardship”. A recent court case, however, has paved the way for a spark of hope for student debtors. In Sara Fern v. Fedloan Servicing, et al, the bankruptcy court ruled in favor of Fern, stating that repaying her $27,000 student loan would indeed ...
  • Trash and Lock Out - Banks Try to Bypass the Law

    If you miss a couple of mortgage payments, there are a few things a bank can legally do – from changing the locks with a court order to sending someone to check if the property has been abandoned. However, banks commonly engage in the illegal tactic known as “trash and lock out”, sending someone to trash the home in order for it to appear abandoned and vandalized, so they can change the locks. It is their way of bypassing the ...
  • Earlier this year, in July, Judge John Z. Lee approved a $9.25 million settlement between American Express Co., American Express Centurion Bank, and customers who claimed the company and a hired third party, Alorica, made illegal debt collection and telemarketing calls to them. The settlement comes in two parts – an $8.25 million settlement, which covers the 798,000 class members who made the claim regarding illegal phone calls and a $1 ...
  • In Colorado, the state’s attorney general has secured a victory against a firm over alleged deceptive foreclosure practices. Two justices in the court states, though, that the practices of the firm may not have been considered deceptive after all was said and done. According to the reports, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was allowed to introduce evidence that was considered critical in showing that the firm used affiliate business to ...
  • CFPB Hearing on Debt Collection

    Debt collection is a $13.7 billion industry in the United States that employs over 130,000 people. At the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Field Hearing on Debt Collection on July 28, 2016, Director Richard Cordray noted that much work still needs to be done in regards to how debt collectors go about receiving payments. Despite protective measures put forth to prevent debt collectors from using abusive tactics, consumers continue to ...
  • According to an insideARM article, any and all companies and debt collectors who use automatic dialing and recorded messages to contact Minnesota residents should take the time to understand Minnesota’s Automatic Dialing-Announcing Devices statute. Under this section of the law, if a debt collector or company contacts a phone line—home or cell—in Minnesota with use of an auto dialer, without prior express consent, using a ...
  • Case Law Update: RESPA Claim Dismissal Denied

    In a new case, a plaintiff alleged that two defendants violated regulations set forth by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The lawsuit involves a plaintiff who from 2005 onward lived in a New Jersey residence. In 2012, the plaintiff was allegedly unable to make mortgage payments, defaulting in March of that year. The defendant offered a loan modification with the stipulation that the plaintiff must make the initial payment or sign the ...