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Twelve Dramatic Changes Offering Relief for Student Loan Borrowers

This article describes new major relief for student loan borrowers: $10,000 or $20,000 for millions of borrowers, and added relief for those in public service, in default, with disabilities, attending specific schools, with private loans, or with IDR plans. New loan servicers and no more private debt collectors. The article links to more detail and sets out steps borrowers should take now to make the most of the offered relief.

Tips on Handling Attorney Fee Hearings

This article provides practice pointers for attorney fee hearings, based on the author’s 44 years of trial experience handling exclusively consumer law cases. The article focuses on time records and other steps to take well before the hearing, use of a 50-state survey of consumer attorney fee rates, getting ready for the hearing, and tips for conduct of the hearing itself.

Congressional, First Circuit, CFPB, and VA Actions Affecting Fair Credit Reporting

A Congressional amendment, a First Circuit decision, two CFPB administrative issuances, a CFPB report, and a Veterans Administration rule all will have significant consequences for consumer reporting under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This article provides the highlights of these recent developments and their implications for consumers, advocates, and FCRA practitioners.

Advising Clients When an Abusive Partner Coerces Debt

This article provides practical tips for advising clients with debt incurred by an abusive partner through coercion and fraud—developing a safety plan, documenting the coerced debt, protecting bank accounts, dealing with unauthorized credit card use, preventing the abuser from opening new accounts in the victimized partner’s name, addressing coerced debt on a credit report, and dealing with home mortgages.

CFPB Issues Three FCRA Interpretations with Widespread Implications

This article examines practice implications of three recent CFPB interpretations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including: tenant and background screening companies’ use of name-only matching violates the FCRA; users are strictly liable for permissible use violations; and state law can limit when medical debt, evictions, rental arrears, and criminal records can first be reported.

Now Available: Automobile Fraud, 7th Edition

The 2022 Seventh Edition of Automobile Fraud is now available in digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. Millions of consumers are defrauded each year by dealers not disclosing a vehicle’s wreck or salvage history, true odometer reading, prior use, lemon-law buyback history, or repaired damage to brand new cars. Other frauds involve vehicle titles and “yo-yo” sales. Learn more and read Chapter One here.

Groundbreaking Ruling: No FTC Holder Rule Cap on Attorney Fee Awards

A May 26 California Supreme Court decision is the most important interpretation of the FTC Holder Rule in 45 years, setting out in detail reasons why the rule does not cap a consumer’s attorney fee award against the creditor. This article describes the decision’s significance to consumer litigation, explains how the ruling applies in other states, and lists twelve other important features of the FTC Holder Rule.

Bringing Federal Consumer Claims in State Court: A 50-State Analysis of Standing

Updated: Federal court class action, statutory damages, or intangible injury cases face constitutional standing challenges. This article suggests bringing federal claims in state court, where standing rules may be relaxed, and links to a 50-state analysis of state court standing rules unaffected by Supreme Court rulings.

April 1 Increase of Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions, Other Dollar Amounts

Effective April 1, consumers filing bankruptcy will be able to exempt more of their equity in their homes, cars, household goods, and even retirement accounts. This article describes all the bankruptcy dollar amount changes going into effect April 1.

Defenses to Collection of Rental Debt

This article provides tenant tactics to deal with rental debt: responding to negative tenant screening reports that prevent access to new housing; challenging the rental amount claimed as due; other defenses to rental debt collection lawsuits and eight ways for the tenant to recover attorney fees in that litigation; tenant rights after a court judgment for the landlord; and tenants’ affirmative litigation for the collector’s litigation abuse.

FDCPA Reg. F, Now in Effect, Explained in Depth

This article introduces the new Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Reg. F, that went into effect November 30. The article provides links to totally rewritten NCLC chapters explaining the new rules in-depth. It also provides a handy list of new Reg. F provisions on debt collector use of emails and texts to collect debts and make required disclosures.

Twelve Tips for Homeowners After Natural Disasters

This article advises homeowners after natural disasters: FEMA aid and other sources of help and grants; avoiding insurance, home repair, and municipal code problems; forbearance of mortgage payments, loan modifications after exiting forbearance, and foreclosure avoidance; and preparing for the next natural disaster. Links providing far more detail are open to all readers for a limited time.

TCPA Litigation After Recent Supreme Court, FCC, Other Rulings

This article sets out practice implications of three recent Supreme Court cases, two FCC rulings, and other court decisions dramatically reshaping TCPA litigation: Article III standing; the autodialer definition; constitutionality of TCPA claims arising prior to an unconstitutional provision’s severance; general limits on prerecorded calls; new limits on debt collector-recorded calls to residential lines; and seller liability for “do-not-call” rule violations.

New CFPB Rule Protects Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

This article explains in detail important CFPB amendments to RESPA Reg. X taking effect August 31 affecting mortgage servicer early intervention and loss mitigation requirements. The rule provides new rights to homeowners exiting mortgage loan forbearances or experiencing a COVID-related payment hardships—rights applicable not just to federally insured mortgages, but to almost every home mortgage in America.

New Protections for Homeowners with VA Mortgages, Effective July 27

A new VA final rule, effective July 27, provides new rights for homeowners exiting a COVID-19 related forbearance program. Forborne payments will not be due until the end of the mortgage term and are interest-free. This article describes both this new right to defer forborne payments and options for homeowners who cannot afford their regular monthly payments that become due after exiting forbearance.

Effective May 3 New Federal Debt Collection Rule on Eviction Practices

This article explains a new CFPB Interim Final Rule, effective May 3, 2021, that increases information for tenants about COVID-related protection from eviction. The article also details tenants’ federal remedies against eviction attorneys and other debt collectors involved in the eviction that fail to provide or misrepresent that information.

The FDCPA Year in Review: 2020

This article reviews a very active 2020 concerning the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The article focuses on two sets of final Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules on the FDCPA, one published in November and the other announced in December, and then summarizes all of the relevant 2020 circuit court of appeals FDCPA cases.

Debunking Claims TCPA Unconstitutional for Robocalls from 2015 to 2020

This article provides a summary and link to a Public Justice paper that debunks claims (successful in two district courts and popping up everywhere now) that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is unconstitutional as applied to all robocalls from 2015 to July 6, 2020.

Protecting Wages, Benefits, and Bank Accounts from Judgment Creditors

Financial distress exacerbated by the current epidemic will soon result in millions of judgments against consumers in collection lawsuits. This article details federal and particularly state law exemptions and other protections and strategies that limit these judgment creditors from garnishing consumer wages and freezing and seizing consumer bank accounts. Additional key resources are also listed.

Major Consumer Protections Announced in Response to COVID-19

This article lists a growing number of actions Congress, governors, federal and state agencies, and companies are taking to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic: suspensions on foreclosures, evictions, and terminations on telecommunications and utility service, elimination of interest and forbearance on student loan payments and home mortgages, and more. Final Update: Aug. 13, 2020.