Consumer Protection Law

debtorAt Cornetet, Meyer, Rush & Stapleton we are available to defend consumers in a myriad of disputes and legal issues that can arise from your everyday contact with businesses, contractors, banks, and landlords. Ohio and Federal Law provide a wide range of protections to consumers, but these rules are often riddled with exceptions, loop holes, and strict time standards to prevent most consumers from being able to take full advantage of their protection. The experienced attorneys of CMRS are here to navigate you through the process and ensure you rights under the law are protected. If you are being taken advantage of by a business, please contact Michael Spillane today to schedule a consultation.

Our attorneys offer advice and representation in a full spectrum of legal matters facing consumers, including:

Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act Litigation

Under Ohio law it is illegal for a business to use false or deceptive trade practices in selling a service to a consumer. This can range from a contractor failing to complete his work in a satisfactory manner, a business refusing to honor a contract, or a company using false advertisements to sell you a product. If a company is found in violation of the CSPA, the court can award you triple the amount of your damages, order the company to pay you an additional fine up to $5000, and order the company to pay your attorney fees.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Litigation

Since the onset of the recession, one industry has continued to boom, 3rd Party Debt Collection. The standard model of the 3rd party debt collection company is to buy an electronic file from a credit card company, known as a portfolio or paper, for pennies on the dollar (in some cases as little 1% or 2% of the total debt) and then begin calling and harassing consumers. Once they have collected as much as they can, they sell this “paper” onto the next firm who starts the process over again.

Often these companies have no more information than a name, address, phone number, and balance. Further, because of the huge discount they purchase the “paper” for, the records are often inaccurate and incomplete. This leads to double collection, collecting from the wrong person, and scam companies stealing parts of the portfolio to make a quick buck. Their only goal is to squeeze you for as much as they can before passing it onto the next company, who will not care about your dealings with the previous company. This leads to harassing and threatening phone calls from overzealous collectors and in some cases, the filing of legal actions that they know they cannot support with evidence.

If you are being harassed or sued by one of these companies you have options. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is designed to protect consumers from harassment from collectors. It includes provisions requiring the debt collector to prove you owe the debt, restricting who the debt collector can contact about the debt, when they can contact you about a debt, and when they must cease contacting you about a debt. A consumer that proves they are being harassed in violation of the FDCPA can be awarded up to $1000.00 and payment of their attorney fees by the court.

Tenant Defense

ORC 5321 provides options for Tenants whose landlords are failing to uphold their duties. This includes protections if a Landlord fails to make repairs as needed, fails to return your security deposit as required, or is illegally accessing your rental unit. A tenant that can prove a violation of the requirements of ORC 5321 may be entitled to damages and attorney fees for the landlord’s actions.

Further, the best protection a tenant can provide themselves is to avoid signing an unfair lease. Many tenants are under the belief that their lease is a take it or leave it document that they are not allowed to change. This is simply not true, a lease is binding contract that should not be entered into lightly. Many potential problems can be resolved by ensuring your lease does not contain unfair or ambiguous terms. We offer lease reviews starting for as little as $50.

As a consumer you have options. Do not allow a business to push you around just because they think you are too small to do anything about it. Contact Michael Spillane to see if our firm can assist you in protecting your rights.