Consumer Protection Litigation
Consumer protection laws are designed to prevent businesses from engaging in fraudulent, deceptive or unfair trade practices which prey on the vulnerable or allow them to gain an unfair advantage over competitors. Consumer protection cases are often brought as class actions to obtain financial compensation or other remedies to those injured by an unlawful business practice or to enjoin a company from continuing to engage in deceptive or unlawful conduct. Consumer class actions are civil cases brought by one or more individuals on behalf of themselves and a larger group or “class” of individuals who have suffered a similar harm due to a defendant’s unlawful conduct. Consumer class actions can arise from many different kinds of corporate misconduct, including false advertising of products and services; products that are defective or dangerous; hidden or unwarranted fees; failing to adequately protect personal or financial information resulting in data breaches; breaches of warranty claims; and other unfair or deceptive trade practices. Since its founding, Lewis Saul & Associates, P.C. has developed and litigated numerous consumer protection and fair debt collection cases. In many consumer protection cases, the firm has been appointed by the court to serve as Class Counsel, Lead Counsel and/or Co-Lead Counsel to advance plaintiffs’ interests in these litigations, including:
Appointed as Class Counsel and counsel for the plaintiff in H. Louis Farmer, Jr., et al. v. TD Banknorth, Inc. et al., CV-07-39 (Maine Sup. Ct. 2007) and In re TD Banknorth Shareholders Litigation, C.A. No. 2557-VCL (Delaware Ct. of Chancery 2007), a shareholder derivative class action filed in Maine against TD Banknorth, TD Bank Financial Group, and their directors for breach of their fiduciary duties to shareholders in acquisition of all outstanding shares of TD Banknorth common stock by TD Bank Financial Group.
Appointed as Co-Lead Counsel in In re Hannaford Bros. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation (MDL No. 1954), a national consumer class action involving the exposure of 4.2 million credit and debit cards to fraud due to Hannaford’s failure to adequately safeguard customers’ financial information during payment transactions at their stores.
Deminne v. Smart Corporation, No. 151794, (Sup. Ct. Montgomery Co., Md.), a certified state class action involving overcharges for copies of medical records which resulted in a settlement where all overcharges were refunded.
Appointed as Co-Lead Counsel and counsel for plaintiff in LaRocque v. TRS Recovery Services, Inc., 285 F.R.D. 139 (D. Maine 2012), a class action case involving violations of the FCRA for a deceptive collection letter for returned checks and other fees.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted into legislation in the early 1970’s, but it was not until recently that the law has become an important tool for consumers to challenge unfair and illegal actions that have been taken against them. Under FCRA, there are strict guidelines as to the information that can be filed on a credit report, and there are also specific requirements that credit reporting companies fix their own mistakes on credit reports when the occur.
However, credit reports are not always accurate – in fact, they are usually not. A review of consumer credit reports conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Group found that 79% of consumer credit reports contained some kind of error or mistake. This type of incorrect information can prevent you from financing or refinancing a home or a car at fair interest rate.
The repercussions of inaccurate credit reporting can include denial of employment, the inability to purchase a home, or the denial of insurance or the approval of insurance with inappropriately high premiums.
There are also reporting requirements that creditors or employers notify consumers if they have taken some adverse action (denial of a loan or employment) based on information that is contained within a credit report. This is a crucial requirement because if incorrect information has been used to adversely affect a consumer, it provides an opportunity for a consumer to reverse the action or correct the incorrect information.
It is important for consumers to review their credit reports on a regular basis to determine if they contain any inaccurate information. If you have been negatively impacted by incorrect consumer reporting information, you may be able to seek a legal resolution and recover compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of fraudulent, abusive or predatory business practices or has been negatively impacted by incorrect reporting or usage of your credit report, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for damages. For a free and confidential case evaluation, please call our office toll-free at (888) 747-5342 or complete our online contact form and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.