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No FDCPA Violation Exists If Settlement Offer Fails to Disclose Accruing Interest

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a debt collector did not violate the FDCPA by sending the consumer a settlement offer letter that did not disclose that his balance could increase due to interest and fees.

In Cortez v. Forster & Garbus, LLP, a creditor placed a consumer’s credit card debt with a debt collector for collection. After obtaining a default judgment, the debt collector sent several collection notices to the consumer.

One such notice provided the consumer various settlement options to satisfy the debt at a “substantial discount off the current balance due.” But, the settlement letter did not disclose that interest was continuing to accrue on the debt.

The consumer filed an action against the collection agency accusing it of violating the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act’s [the “FDCPA”] prohibition against false, deceptive, or misleading representations when collecting a debt, 15 U.S.C. § 1692e, for failing to disclose that interest was accruing on the account.

The Court ruled that, though a debt collector is required to disclose that the balance may increase due to interest and fees, the rule did not apply in this case because the settlement proposal clearly stated that acceptance of one of the options would satisfy the debt, and could not mislead the consumer.

The Cortez decision may limit some potential FDCPA lawsuits, but it does not close the door on all FDCPA lawsuits related to settlement offers.

If you believe that an abusive debt collector, creditor, or credit card company has violated your consumer rights, then Diwan Law can help you. Contact us today at 404-635-6883 to speak to an Atlanta consumer rights attorney.

What is a debt collector

What is a Debt Collector?

A “debt collector,” as defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [“FDCPA”], is a person or a business that regularly collects debts owed to another. Still, this definition does not fully explain what a debt collector is.

Most first-party creditors [credit card company or bank] or lenders will try to collect debts themselves before resorting to writing it off. Typically, past-due accounts won’t be charged off until they’re 120 to 180 days late.

After a consumer defaults on a loan, the account is sent to a third-party debt collector or buyer [hereinafter referred to as “debt collector”]. The debt collector then attempts to collect on the debt, rather than the first-party creditor or lender to whom the debt is originally owed.

The collection agencies and attorneys who collect these debts as part of their regular course of business are considered debt collectors. Also included are businesses that buy past-due debts from creditors or other companies and then try to collect them.

The debt collection market is significant and affects many people. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [“CFPB”] states that around one-third of consumers with a credit bureau file reported contact from at least one debt collector.

The FDCPA is the main federal statute regulating the consumer debt collection market. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain types of behavior [such as misrepresentation or harassment] when seeking to collect debts from consumers and grants consumers the right to dispute or stop some communications about an alleged debt.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers personal, family, and household debts, including hospital bills, credit cards, and car loans.

If a debt collector is contacting you, you need to speak to a consumer’s rights lawyer.

Contact Diwan Law at 404-635-6883 for a free case evaluation.

Charged with Driving on a Suspended License

Driving on a Suspended License in Georgia

Have you been charged with driving on a suspended license? You want a skilled Georgia Suspended License Lawyer on your side.

Drivers get their licenses suspended for a variety of reasons. Even though the penalties are severe, many still choose to continue to drive with a suspended license.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License

A first conviction for driving on a suspended license will result in between 2 days and 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The penalties for the second or third conviction within five years increase to between 10 days and 12 months in jail and a fine between $1,000.00 and $2,500.00.

Common Causes of Driver’s License Suspensions

  • Criminal Convictions-certain criminal convictions can result in license suspension or revocation. These include:
    • Driving Under the Influence [“DUI”] of drugs or alcohol
    • Driving without insurance
    • Vehicular homicide
  • Traffic Tickets and Point Suspensions
    • If you accumulate 15 or more points in 24 months, your driver’s license will be suspended.
    • I suggest that you review your record on the Department of Driver’s Services’ website.
  • Failing to Pay Child Support
  • An unsatisfied personal injury judgment against you may suspend your driver’s license or driving privilege. O.C.G.A. § 40-9-61

How to Avoid License Suspensions in Georgia

  • Do not drive without insurance.
  • Make sure to either go to court or pay your tickets. If you don’t, the Georgia Department of Driver Services has the authority to suspend your license.
  • Do not drive on a suspended license. If you do and are convicted, there will be an additional six months added to your suspension.

Seeking Help for Driving After Being Charged with Driving on a Suspended License

Always hire a lawyer! Diwan Law will help you think through your options and help you choose your best option.

Contact Diwan Law at 404-635-6883 today for a free consultation with a traffic ticket lawyer.

Atlanta Street Racing

Atlanta Illegal Street Racing

Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill on Monday that attempts to stem the tide of illegal street racing in Atlanta. According to the AJC, there is a troubling trend of street racing that has led to an increasing number of complaints in Atlanta since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is part of a larger effort across Georgia to suppress illegal street racing, which could encompass a wide range of crimes: dangerous driving in parking lots, chases down highways or quiet roads, stunts in parking decks or busy intersections in front of large crowds.

Racing is already illegal under Georgia law. As outlined in O.C.G.A. (b) § 40-6-186, “[n]o person shall drive any vehicle on a highway in this state in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed or acceleration, or for the purpose of making a speed record, and no person shall in any manner participate in any such race, competition of speed, contest of speed, or test or exhibition of speed.”

Under this code section, anyone convicted of this violation is guilty of a misdemeanor, which the court may impose a sentence that includes a fine of up to $1,000.00, up to 12 months in jail, or both.

The Bill seeks to amend the Georgia code by making it illegal for “[a]ny person who knowingly promotes or organizes an exhibition of illegal drag racing, in violation of Code Section 40-6-186, or of laying drags, in violation of Code Section 40-6-251. If found guilty, the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

The Bill also calls for the driver’s license of any person convicted of reckless stunt driving to be suspended.

Contact an experienced Atlanta traffic lawyer to discuss this and all your rights. Diwan Law will appear in court on your behalf and develop a strategic defense to your charges.

As an experienced traffic ticket attorney, Diwan law can guide your case through Atlanta Municipal Court or the Fulton County State Court system.

Call Diwan Law at 404.635.6883 to discuss your case today.

False Arrest

False Arrest Attorney

Have you been a victim of false arrest? Speak with a false arrest attorney immediately about your rights. Contact Diwan Law, 404-635-6883, for a free consultation!

A false arrest can occur with or without police involvement. Many false arrest claims involve private security.

Retail stores, supermarkets, hotels, apartments, bars, and many other businesses and venues hire private security firms to monitor their premises. Unfortunately, security officers and law enforcement professionals sometimes overstep their authority and restrain people in a manner that violates a person’s civil rights.

A FALSE ARREST ATTORNEY CAN HELP PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS

What is False Arrest?

False arrest is the restraint or detention by one person of another without lawful justification for any length of time. It can occur any time one person restrains another against his or her will or takes another into custody without consent or without “probable cause.”

By definition, probable cause is the existence of such facts and circumstances as would lead one to the reasonable belief that a person has committed the crime for which he or she has been charged.

Lack of probable cause exists when the circumstances are such as to satisfy a reasonable person that the accuser had no ground for proceeding but his desire to injure the accused.

Civil Lawsuits for False Arrest

Right of civil action for false arrest exists if the arrest was made maliciously, under the process of law, and without probable cause.

One can institute a lawsuit for damages stemming from a false arrest. Damages can include such things as loss of salary or injury to reputation.

If you have been falsely arrested in Georgia, the Atlanta false arrest attorney at Diwan Law, LLC can help you receive compensation for physical harm, mental trauma, financial losses, and any other consequences of a false arrest.

Please contact the Georgia false arrest lawyer at Diwan Law, LLC to discuss your case. Your consultation is free.

GEORGIA USED CAR DEALER FRAUD ATTORNEY

At Diwan Law, we take consumer rights violations very seriously and work with individuals throughout Atlanta and the surrounding communities who have been victims of used car dealer fraud.

Used Car Dealer Fraud

Buying a used car in Georgia can be a great and exhilarating experience, but it can quickly turn into a headache if it turns out that the car dealer acted fraudulently. Fortunately, state and federal laws protect consumers from dealerships that take advantage of their customers.

Car purchases and leases are complicated transactions with which most Atlanta consumers have little experience. They involve Georgia titling and registration laws, trade-ins, financing, leasing, insurance, options, and other fees. Car dealers are well-versed in these transactions and sometimes take advantage of consumers.

A surprising number of Georgia new and used car sales involve auto dealer fraud, deception, and unfair business practices.

Common Auto Dealer Scams 

Odometer Fraud: is a type of auto sales fraud that involves manipulating the odometer, so that it shows a number that is less than the actual mileage of the automobile.

“Yo-Yo Financing”: allowing a customer to leave the dealership with a vehicle under the mistaken belief that a loan application is approved and then having the consumer return to sign for a different, more expensive loan; and backdating new financing documents to the original purchase date.

Auto Fraud Involving Wrecked & Salvaged Autos: Used car dealers sell used cars that have been wrecked or salvaged without disclosing this to the buyer. If a car is in a wreck, even if it is adequately repaired, the automobile is worthless, and any equity the consumer had in the vehicle is gone.

“Bait and Switch” scheme: Advertising a vehicle for a specific amount and then telling consumers that the published deal is no longer being offered and offering to sell the consumer the same car at an increased price.

Most times, customers would not have purchased the vehicle had the used car dealer not made representations about the mileage or quality and condition. The used auto dealer’s failure to disclose the condition of the car is a direct violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.

If this happens to you, under Georgia and Federal laws, you may be entitled to recover damages and compensation from the used car dealer.

If you have been a victim of car dealer fraud or car repair fraud, Diwan Law may be able to help.

Contact an experienced Atlanta Used Car Dealer Fraud Attorney, 404-635-6883, to discuss your case.