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Scott Michelman
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As we have discussed, last week California passed a law barring the use of non-disparagement clauses and providing a private cause of action for seeking or threatening to enforce one, or for "otherwise penaliz[ing] a consumer for making any statement... Continue reading
Posted 4 hours ago at CL&P Blog
...asks this Harvard Magazine review of The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online, by Judith Donath. The review explains: One of [Donath's] goals is to help readers recognize possibilities between real names and online anonymity. She believes pseudonyms could provide... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at CL&P Blog
by Ted Mermin (Executive Director, Public Good Law Center), guest blogger As Scott Michelman's earlier post explained, the new California law barring nondisparagement clauses in consumer contracts promises to restrain a pernicious practice before it spreads widely. That in itself... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at CL&P Blog
Watch here, laugh and enjoy. (And learn.) (Note to sensitive readers: in addition to some profanity, there's a rather detailed -- but hilarious -- digression regarding President Lyndon Johnson's difficulty fitting his private parts into his pants.) (Note to history... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at CL&P Blog
...is the title of this expose (from personal experience), in Vox. A telling passage: In most cases like this [i.e. attempting to collect a deceased's debt from his family], the family is not liable for the debts, something we informed... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at CL&P Blog
We've written extensively about the problem of non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts, and we've discussed the possibility of a legislative fix in California, proposed by former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. Public Citizen has supported and assisted in this and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at CL&P Blog
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has the details about today's 153-page ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2014 at CL&P Blog
I was surprised to learn, as the National Law Journal reported today: The recent settlement of the long-running legal dispute over modernization of the U.S. Supreme Court building included a pledge by the government not to give the contractor any... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Check out this story from a recent episode of This American Life, with a tale of what happens in court when a debtor being sued insists on seeing evidence of the debt. Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at CL&P Blog
We told you yesterday about the online merchant Accessory Outlet, which demanded $250 from a consumer and told her she was "playing games with the wrong people" after the consumer said she would contact her credit card company about a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Taking aim at some of the key causes of the financial crisis, the SEC approved rules on Wednesday that would require issuers of asset-backed securities — complex investments based on mortgages, auto loans or other types of debt — to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at CL&P Blog
The march of the non-disparagement clauses continues. This time the business is Accessory Outlet, another web-based retailer. Its terms (fine print, as usual) prohibit “any complaint, chargeback, claim, dispute,” or “any public forum post, review, Better Business Bureau complaint, social... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at CL&P Blog
As the Washington Post reports, now heating up (in terms of money and ads) is the campaign over California's Proposition 46, which will go to the voters this November. One aspect of the measure would raise the cap on medical... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at CL&P Blog
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 Aug 19, 2014 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 Aug 19, 2014 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 Aug 18, 2014 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 Aug 15, 2014 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
...is 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