Debt Collection A to Z: X is for X Marks the Spot

Signing a contract or document can have major consequences.  Hence the need to read, understand, ask questions, understand, and agree BEFORE signing. Some documents still have an “x” to mark the spot where parties are supposed to sign and assent to the terms that appear on the page and are otherwise referenced on said page.  Often folks realize after signing that they made a bad deal and the finances and consequences catch up with them.  Be it a car loan, credit card agreement, payday loan, promissory note, lease, X Marks the Spot or other contract that involves you agreeing to pay money to another party be abundantly clear you understand what you are signing.  Admittedly you may not understand all of the minutia or  small details but be sure to assess whether these smaller items can spell big trouble for you down the road.

For too many rogue creditors that portion of the contract is the proverbial sweet spot as they can then take advantage of an unsuspecting consumer.  Consumer beware and debtor beware when you get to that “x” on the contract.  Do not assume there is a right to cancel the contract; make sure such a right exists and get it in writing.  If the need should arise contact a consumer lawyer sooner rather than later.

Debt Collection A to Z: W is for Why?

After practicing law for almost 20 years and being a consumer lawyer for the last 10 it never fails to amaze me the lengths people and businesses will go to in an attempt to take advantage of others.  Threats, deception, ridicule, violence, etc. Sometimes I just have to ask “why”.  Don’t you?

  • Why do debt collectors file lawsuits when they know they lack the proof of their legal right to collect on the debt?
  • Why do lenders forge consumers’ signatures on debt-related documents and then try to hold the consumers responsible on the WHY?debt?
  • Why do car dealers fudge the facts and numbers to seek approval of a loan and then try like the dickens to convince the consumer (and often a prospective lender) the consumer padded the application information?
  • Why do some debt collectors publish the consumer’s debt to several different third parties and pretend it doesn’t matter?
  • Why do debt collectors and creditors make verbal agreements with consumers regarding payment modifications and then get “convenient amnesia” regarding the agreements or any such discussions?

But perhaps even more concerning to me is why consumers put up with these and other abuses and violations.  Don’t be that consumer who is victimized and further emboldens rogue debt collectors.  If you believe a debt collector is violating your rights contact an experienced consumer lawyer.


Sorry for the extended hiatus folks.  Been a bit busy.  Just finished and submitted a Powerpoint for a presentation next week in Durham re vehicle law.  And commencing work on a presentation to be given as part of the NCAJ Convention in June.  Also winding down a few lengthy cases and getting up to speed on my New York Rangers playoff march while keeping up with my Washington Nationals as the MLB season is just getting up and running.  And looking forward to a family outing at UNC baseball game this Saturday night (Go Heels!).  Several more things on tap as well..

I hope this email finds you and yours doing well and enjoying the break in weather and the advent of spring temperatures.  Pollen aside, there have been several nice, sunny, warm days in the past couple of weeks and we look forward to more ahead.  As you launch into spring in earnest take a few moments to consider doing some spring cleaning.  While you read and share I will get back to work and report back to you soon.  Best wishes and thanks for your support…..

“And The Score At the End of The 1st Quarter Is…”

You fill in the blank.  The first three months of 2015 have come and gone and it is as good a time as any to take inventory of the year to date.  Taxes are due in about two weeks, March Madness is almost over, and the Major League Baseball season kicks off this weekend.  Easter Sunday is near and many people are focused on rejuvenation and rebirth.

As for me it has been (more…)

Can You Beat the (Vehicle) Dealer? Feeling Lucky?

If you are feeling lucky, take a real gamble and buy a vehicle “as is.”  I continue to receive calls and emails from consumers who purchase vehicles with no warranty and soon thereafter learn the dealer won. rolling the dice

In the casinos in Las Vegas, the dealer almost always win (maybe not every hand/game but enough of them to remain in business and taking gamblers’ money) and the gambler has little control over the game.  In the vehicle buying world, too often the dealer wins because the consumer gambles when they need not do so.  A consumer has leverage and can take several precautions to minimize the risk of being a big loser.

I will not belabor this message any longer but please, PLEASE, PLEASE do not gamble with your money when buying a used vehicle.  Do your homework and protect your money.  Good luck!

Tips for Purchasing a Used Vehicle from An Individual

It’s tax season…’s springtime (on the calendar though not yet in the air).  These things usually lead to people spending money on vehicles.  To save a few bucks folks often eye and buy a used vehicle from another person versus a dealership.  Before you take the used "lemon" preventionplunge here are a few things to know to hopefully avoid being stuck with a used lemon (more…)

Dealer Fraud But Making Payments? Hold Up! The Holder Clause To the Rescue!

Consumers who purchase vehicles and agree to make payments sometimes find the dealer selling the vehicle defrauded them.  Whether it is a failure to deliver title or misrepresenting the condition of the vehicle or failing to disclose prior collision damage or Hold up!  Holder Rule!some other fraud, the dealer’s mistake can be attributed to the lender which MAY mean the consumer may be able to discontinue payments.  Allow me to explain… (more…)

Family Pride: Got Some?

Family support is of vital importance.  It can propel people to greatness or plunge them into despair.  I am saddened when I hear of some of the things that happen to people within their own families.  Family should be the one set of folks who have each others’  backs and are available for support.  Now “support” does not necessarily mean carte blanche or other room to take advantage of each other.  There must be a happy medium between (more…)

GM Cuts Back on Warranties: Consumers Lose

GM has decided to cut back on the warranties and free service offered on Chevrolet and GM vehicles.  The reason:

“Free scheduled maintenance and warranty coverage do not rank high as a reason to purchase a vehicle among buyers of non-luxury brands,” said Steve Hill, GM North America vice president.

Really?  I wonder about that.  I am curious to see what statistics, surveys, or data GM used to come to that conclusion.  Perhaps GM is correct on this and I will admit I have no info to dispute GM but….I would think “..buyers of non-luxury brands” would be MORE interested in warranty protection and reducing service and maintenance costs.  Guess I am wrong.

At any rate, guess you better buy a new GM this year.  And for those of you that don’t here’s hoping you don’t have any issues with that new vehicle.

March Madness: Are You In?

Well the NCAA selection committee has made it’s decisions about who is out and who is in.  Now thousands of brackets will be completed and submitted in pools across the country (and likely the world).  ESPN and CBS Sports and Fox Sports, to name a few, have bracket challenges in which you can enter brackets to win bragging rights and prizes.  But no $1 billion dollar “Perfect Bracket” contest this year; the companies behind the contest are a bit busy in litigation against each other.  But I am sure there may be a few…just a few….office pools, bar contests, and other opportunities for testing one’s mettle versus other bracket entrants with the spectre of prizes at the end of the rainbow.

Seems that filling out a bracket makes watching the games that much more interesting. In years past I have organized bracket contests which resulted in great competition and amazing fun but in recent years I have stepped down from the position of “Pool Manager” and now just exchange my bracket with a small group of family and friends. Less work for me and more time to enjoy the games and the banter with my competitors.

For those of you who are looking for strategies on how to pick the winning bracket, click here, here, and here.  And to all of you who will partake in the festivities best of luck and enjoy the games.  Go Heels!