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Consumer Rights

Debt Collection Defense | Lemon Law


I handle consumer rights claims for breaches of warranty and unfair or deceptive practices by the manufacturers and providers of goods and services, bringing actions under various state and federal consumer protection statutes. I also defend consumers against mortgage holders and debt collectors. Below are just a few areas of particular interest. Contact me to learn more.

 

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Debt Collection Defense

Are you being harassed by debt collectors? Certain tactics by debt collectors are both out-of-bounds and in violation of federal law setting forth fair debt collection practices. When a debt collector violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the debt collector is liable for actual and/or statutory damages, as well as attorney’s fees. You can sue the debt collector under this act, and I have done this successfully against debt collectors who did not follow the law.

But what about the letters and phone calls about that really old debt, the one that dropped off your credit report years ago?

It is becoming increasingly common in Ohio for debt collectors to seek collection on alleged debts that are up to fifteen years old. Here is why: portfolios of old debt, debts that were long ago written off, are bundled and sold to companies that mine them looking to collect not only the old debt, but years of interest. You may have once had a legitimate dispute over the debt (which may be why you never paid it), but years later, documentation is lost, witnesses are missing, and memories fade. Furthermore, debt gets transferred and sold, and then transferred and sold again. The original creditor may be out of business or merged into another institution. The original record keepers and anyone with personal knowledge as to your situation usually has long disappeared.

These companies that buy up old debt are betting that if they call you enough, you will pay them to go away. And some of them file lawsuits on those debts, betting that you won’t appear in court to defend an old debt you barely remember. This debt is almost fifteen years old – they can’t do this, right? Wrong. In Ohio, the statute of limitations on written contracts is fifteen years. Technically, they can file these lawsuits. But there are defenses. And the worst thing you can do is nothing, because if you don’t appear and defend in court, they can get a default judgment against you. Once they’ve done that, they can garnish your wages, empty out your bank accounts, and put a lien on your house.

Here is a little secret these companies that buy old debts don’t want you to know: sometimes all the evidence they have of your so-called debt is just a line on list, or a reproduction of a single statement that has your name on it and a dollar amount – with little or no other documentation to show that this is really your debt or that the person whose name appears on the paperwork is actually you. Some of these outfits are attempting to collect debts that, if they were made to prove the existence of that debt in a court of law, would be unable to provide sufficient evidence of that debt – which would mean that they would not be able to prove that they are entitled to anything.

I used to represent creditors and collection agencies. I know what they debt collectors are supposed to do, and I know more than a few of the tricks. Some of the tricks aren’t legal. Even if you agree that you owe something, it is often a lot less than what the collectors are demanding. They are ways to cut those debts down to a fair size, and sometimes, make it go away all together. If you thought you had no choice but to pay, let’s discuss it. Use the contact form or call me at 440.996.0066.

 

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Lemon Law

Has your motor vehicle been in the repair shop three or more times for the same problem? Has your vehicle been in the repair shop for thirty or more calendar days for repairs? Have there been six or more repair attempts made to various problems, including repairs to separate problems within a single particular visit to the repair shop? Has your vehicle has been in the shop for a problem that was never fixed properly under warranty and, now that the warranty has ended, continues to be a problem?

If any of the above applies to you, you might have a lemon. Certainly, all cars require maintenance. But a motor vehicle is a lemon if it has so many problems that you are deprived of the beneficial use of it, or if the problems make it unsafe, or if the problems just don’t get fixed after repeated visits to the repair shop.

Ohio’s Lemon Law, together with various state and federal laws can provide relief. There are presumptions under Ohio law that may apply to problems that arise during your vehicle’s first year and 18,000 miles. Even if problems arose in your vehicle after the first year, or if you purchased it used with a warranty or “certified” by the manufacturer or dealership, there may still be grounds for relief under for breach of warranty, among other laws.

Don’t take the word of the dealership or the repair shop for what the law is. They may not know – and even if they do – it may not be in their interest to tell you. Use the contact form to let me know of your situation, and we can discuss it.

 

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Michael Dylan Brennan - Consumer Rights

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Michael Dylan Brennan - Consumer Rights

Consumer Rights

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The Law Office of Michael Dylan Brennan, LLC
5001 Mayfield Road, Suite 301
Cleveland, OH 44124

Phone: 216.382.1000
Fax: 216.291.0159

 
 

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