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Scott Michelman
Recent Activity
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 4 days ago 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 4 days ago 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 5 days ago 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
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