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Scott Michelman
Recent Activity
We've posted before on the subject of contract formation in the digital age (see here, for instance). A key question is: what online terms can a consumer be held to if she hasn't read them? The answer depends on how... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at CL&P Blog
What happens when consumers only have one choice for a cable company? Well, judging by reports on Reddit and Gawker, the answer is bad service and bogus fees. If these practices (particularly the bogus "unreturned equipment fees") are widespread, I... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at CL&P Blog
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides a host of protections against harassment and abuse by debt collectors. One provision permits the debtor to dispute the debt, a step that requires the debt collector to verify the debt before... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at CL&P Blog
A few weeks ago, we flagged a Post/ProPublica investigative report about a retail chain that takes advantage of servicemembers' transience to trap them in a cycle of debt. Now, as The Hill reports, the CFPB has moved against the retailer,... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at CL&P Blog
Following up on Deepak's post earlier this week flagging John Oliver's hilarious takedown of the payday lending industry, check out this post from our friends at Public Justice, discussing the impact of payday lending on minority communities (which are disproportionately... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at CL&P Blog
...reports the National Law Journal, here (subscription required). In a consent order (available here), the CFPB found that Amerisave Mortgage Corporation violated numerous federal consumer protection and lending-related laws by luring borrowers to its services with inaccurate rates then overcharging... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at CL&P Blog
A judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled that the government violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by waiting until after the fall 2013 government shutdown was over to pay federal workers. Plaintiffs' counsel estimates that up... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2014 at CL&P Blog
We all know weddings can get expensive, but here's something most couples do not budget for: fines charged by the hotel if a wedding guest leaves a negative review online. Astonishingly, that's what the website of the Union Street Guest... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Remember in March, when Senate Intelligence Committe Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the floor of the Senate to accuse the CIA of having hacked the computers of the committee, which was at the time investigating CIA abuses in the war... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Check out this troubling idea for an ad campaign: giving kids fake pill bottles filled with candy. Probably not encouraging the right associations. When confronted with this observation, the company, to its credit, agreed and stopped distributing the bottles. Consumerist... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at CL&P Blog the title of this NYT article, which puts stark numbers on the problem of income inequality in the U.S. over the last ten years. Not surprisingly, the housing crisis has played a central role. Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at CL&P Blog
USA Discounters, reports the Washington Post in conjunction with ProPublica, is a retailer that takes advantage of service members' transience and locks them into cycle of debt using a venue-selection clause in their contracts that permits the business to litigate... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2014 at CL&P Blog
According to The Hill, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Wednesday they are taking action against dozens of companies that they allege falsely promised to help distressed homeowners prevent foreclosure and lower their... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at CL&P Blog
We’ve covered on the blog several examples of troubling non-disparagement clauses preventing consumers from speaking out about their bad experiences with businesses (for instance, see here and here). From our experience, these seem to be cropping up more and more.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at CL&P Blog
A report issued today by Pennsylvania's auditor general revealed the troubling (if not necessarily surprising) degree to which that state's Department of Environmental Protection has been outmatched by the pace of gas drilling in the state. The report, covering the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Just hours after a panel the D.C. Circuit held (over a dissent) that the ACA could be read just one way -- to forbid health-care premium subsidies in health-care exchanges run by the federal government rather than a state --... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at CL&P Blog
In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has struck down an IRS rule providing subsidies for participants in health-care exchanges in states where the exchanges were established by the federal government,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at CL&P Blog
The National Law Journal has an analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as it hits the three-year mark. Among the highlights: Agency lawyers filed at least 20 enforcement actions in the past year (compared with two in the CFPB’s... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at CL&P Blog
As NPR reports this month, the U.S. economy has finally recovered the number of jobs it had as of January 2008. But they didn't all go back to the places where they were lost. Check out this fascinating graph (and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Manufacturers of home appliances (like Whirlpool) have been sued for misusing the EPA's "Energy Star" label to suggest that products were more energy efficient than they actually were. The industry response has been to try to get Congress to ban... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at CL&P Blog
As Bloomberg reports today, Citigroup Inc. agreed to pay $7 billion in fines and consumer relief to resolve government claims that it misled investors about the quality of mortgage-backed bonds sold before the 2008 financial crisis. But is it enough?... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at CL&P Blog the choice being put to residents of Finleyville, PA (in the southwestern part of the state) by the natural gas company EQT. The question is also the headline of the Slate story on the proposal. $50,000 sounds like a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at CL&P Blog
This week, New York's highest court has confirmed the right of towns to ban fracking. Though legally a case about the power of localities versus the preemptive effect of state law, the result is that opponents of fracking have a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at CL&P Blog
This week, the Seventh Circuit reversed the denial of class certification in Zanetti v. IKO Mfg., a case about roof tiles marketed with the allegedly false claim that they met a certain industry standard. The district court denied class certification... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at CL&P Blog