Articles Posted in Consumer Protection

It all began in 2007 when a Jacksonville woman got fed up with her home security monitoring service.

She just wanted to stop using the service, but was surprised to find that her contract contained an auto-renewal provision that allowed the company to automatically renew her contract. She could only have stopped the renewal by submitting a written request to the company 60 days before the contract was set to renew.

Instead of being able to cancel her service, she found that she had been auto-renewed for another two years.

Plainly, the woman wasn’t happy, and when her protests fell on deaf ears at the alarm company, Rep. Charles McBurney, a republican state representative from Jacksonville, stepped in.

On May 12, 2010, legislation to protect consumers against vague and unscrupulous auto-renewal contracts became law in Florida.
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You purchase a new car and just as added peace of mind, you also purchase something called credit life insurance to pay off the loan if you die before the life of the loan. It is protection against the risk of defaulting. There is also credit disability insurance to pay a loan off if you become disabled and cannot work.

Farah & Farah’s consumer lawyers want you to know that several class action lawsuits have been filed and some settled on behalf of consumers who purchased this type of insurance and paid off their auto loans early but did not get an “unearned premium” refund. Because the entire premium for the loan is paid up-front in a single premium, if the loan is paid off early, there is no longer any loan left to insure. That consumer then is owed a portion of the up-front premium.
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You may not be aware they you have willingly signed an arbitration agreement hidden in many contracts. Arbitration agreements mandate if you have a dispute with a company, whether it is a nursing home, a bank account, a cell phone company, a rental agency etc. you will submit to an independent arbitration board that will decide your case and not a jury. They are called binding mandatory arbitration clauses. A company involved in wrongdoing does not want to open its documents to your attorney as required in preparation for trial so companies often push for arbitration agreements in contracts.

On Wednesday, April 27, the U.S. Supreme Court in AT&T v. Concepcion granted a request by AT&T to use fine print of contracts to bar consumers from joining a class-action lawsuit. Consumers can be forced into arbitration and barred from holding a company accountable for misdeeds, greed, fraud, or reckless behavior. A class action lawsuit allows people to band together to obtain justice in a courtroom in a way they would never be able to afford as an individual. Now a company that defrauds a large number of customers is insulated from liability. Public Citizen has been working with members of Congress to end forced arbitration.
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Consumers thought they were getting a free trial of a dietary supplement or teeth whitening product, but instead, they found additional charges on their credit card for more products they didn’t order. Those consumers are getting $3 million in refunds, reports the online magazine Consumer Affairs, after the company, XM Brands agreed to settle deceptive marketing charges filed by the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division.

The Hollywood, Florida-based company has received 1,143 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida and the Caribbean. Consumer complain they gave their credit card only to pay for shipping and instead they were subjected to the “negative option” marketing that requires them to cancel after a specific period of time or else they will be enrolled in a membership program with automatic shipments and charges for additional products.
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