Consumers have rights. Financial institutions, telecommunication companies, apartment companies, credit bureaus, mortgage servicing companies, and other companies that provide consumer services have a legal obligation to abide by the contractual agreements they make with their customers. Companies must also follow state and federal laws that prohibit predatory, deceptive, and unscrupulous business practices.
Private companies routinely violate consumer rights. Unsure of their legal options and uncertain of where to turn for help, many consumers, sensing that the deck is stacked against ordinary Americans, simply accept unfair treatment. But you can fight back.
Milberg’s Consumer Services litigation group focuses on protecting those whose consumer rights have been violated by practices that include improperly charged fees, predatory and discriminatory lending, illegal credit reporting practices, and invasion of privacy. If you believe you’ve been defrauded, discriminated against, or otherwise mistreated, you may be able to take legal action. Please contact us to speak with a consumer protection attorney.
Focus Areas of Practice
Our consumer protection attorneys have led lawsuits nationwide that returned billions of dollars to consumers and prompted meaningful changes in how companies treat their customers. Together with our Consumer Products practice, we enforce consumer rights by prosecuting a wide variety of abusive practices at the hands of creditors and service providers.
Milberg’s reverse redlining and predatory lending practices group protects the rights of minority borrowers when they are injured by the practices of banks and other financial institutions that lend money or originate and service borrowers’ loans. This includes borrowers who are harmed or fraudulently deceived by their lenders (inclusive of banks) or loan servicers.
The harm created by the banks and other financial institutions and lenders have resulted in minority borrowers being charged disproportionately higher amounts and fees than those charged to similarly situated non-minority borrowers.
Milberg has been actively engaged in high profile litigation on behalf of several county governments in Georgia, Illinois, and Maryland, among other jurisdictions, against some of the largest financial institutions for their role in the predatory and discriminatory mortgage lending and servicing practices, including reverse redlining, that led to disparate numbers of foreclosures in minority communities.
Mortgage Foreclosure and Servicing
Countless homeowner have been foreclosed on unnecessarily or illegally. Milberg protects homeowners from foreclosure and unfair or deceptive mortgage servicing practices.
We recently reached a $7 million dollar settlement with Seterus related to debt-collection letters that were sent to homeowners. Our lawsuit alleged that Seterus, which services loans owned by Fannie Mae, unlawfully threatened foreclosure in their notice of final default letter, in violation of the federal Fair Debt collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Milberg also represented consumer borrowers who were victimized by the loan modification process. Our attorneys sued Citi Mortgage Inc. on behalf of consumers for failing to convert TPPs (trial period plans) to permanent modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program.
The eviction process triggers fees such as attorneys’ fees and court fees. But landlords may be violating state rental laws when they pass these eviction fees on to their tenants.
Milberg has filed more than a dozen class action lawsuits claiming that landlords are not within their rights to charge eviction fees to tenants. Several of these have already settled, resulting in significant compensation to tenants and former tenants. Individual payments for those who paid eviction fees have ranged from $175 up to $1,225.
Bank Overdraft Fees
Banks and credit unions routinely engage in overdraft practices. While the average overdraft fee may only amount to $30 – $40, these fees are a major source of profit to financial institutions. Banks collected more than $30 billion in overdraft fees in 2020 and around $11 billion in 2019.
Overdraft fees are not illegal, but banks and credit unions have been accused of using deceptive practices—such as misrepresenting account balances, processing transactions out of order, and continuously allowing customers with insufficient funds to overcharge their accounts—in order to charge customers excessive overdraft fees. In addition, thanks to the overdraft protection law, financial institutions can only charge overdraft fees to customers who have opted-in to overdraft coverage.
Milberg attorneys served as Class Counsel in a class action lawsuit that accused Members 1st Federal Credit Union of charging improper overdraft fees to its customers on certain debit card transactions. The case resulted in a $910,000 class action settlement. Milberg is also engaged in litigation against Nationstar Mortgage for improperly withdrawing mortgage funds from customer accounts.
Overcharging of Notary Services
States set statutory limits on how much notaries public may charge for notarization services. Milberg currently has cases against UPS in New Jersey and Illinois for allegedly charging illegally high high notary fees.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that protects consumers from unfair penalties resulting from inaccurate credit, background, and consumer reporting, as well as from unauthorized credit report requests. Under the FCRA, credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are responsible for making sure that consumer credit reports are accurate and only shared with authorized parties for permissible purposes. Because your credit report can affect your ability to secure employment, housing, loans, and more, accurate reporting and privacy are crucial.
Credit reporting agencies, creditors, collectors, employers, and other parties that violate your FCRA rights may be subject to legal action, including in many cases class action lawsuits. Our lawyers have successfully obtained compensation for thousands of FCRA class action plaintiffs nationwide. You can learn more about common FCRA violations here.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers from unsolicited phone calls and text messages. It gives consumers the right to sue individuals, retailers, and marketers that contact them via phone without their consent and that fail to abide by do-not-call requests.
Failure to comply with the TCPA can provide for compensation between $500 and $1,500 per violation. Companies often utilize robo-calls and robo-texts to reach thousands or millions of consumers, making TCPA cases good candidates for class action lawsuits.
Through lawsuits involving consumer products and services, Milberg has recovered billions of dollars in compensation for our clients. In addition to the above cases, Milberg’s consumer protection attorneys also handle cases that include:
- Bank interest rates
- Bank overcharges
- Improper fees charged by cable companies and other telecommunications companies
- Impact and capacity fees
- Utility companies
- Automotive defects
- Building/construction defects
- Drugs and medical devices
- Beauty products
- Computers and electronics
- Social media companies
- Finance and insurance products
- Pet products
Find Out If You Qualify For a Consumer Service Lawsuit
Consumer spending drives the U.S. economy. Yet the rights of consumers often take a backseat to the rights of large, for-profit companies. Big companies have proven over and over again that they can’t always be counted on to do right by their customers. In many instances, consumers have to take the fight to corporations and demand what the law entitles them to.
Milberg built its name and reputation by fighting for victims of some of the most infamous corporate scandals. We pioneered federal class action litigation and in doing so created a new era of corporate accountability. Since 1965, the firm has established itself as one of the most successful consumer litigation law firms in the country, with over $50 billion in verdicts and settlements.
Milberg uses its strength to help clients fight back against unfair, illegal, and discriminatory consumer practices. If your consumer rights were infringed, you may qualify for an individual or class action lawsuit. Please contact us for a free consultation to learn more.