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Law Offices of Robert W. Murphy, Esq. - Consumer Rights Lawyer and Consumer Fraud Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL 954.763.8660

Governement Enforcement Proceeding Against Fake Consumer Advocates

November 19, 2014

The Florida Attorney General together with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) filed enforcement actions against Consumer Collection Advocates, Corp., and Michael Robert Ettus, CCA Principal, for allegedly targeting consumers who were victims of previous consumer frauds or scams. In return for upfront payments and a percentage of any recovery, the company contracted with these victims, guaranteeing to recover the monies the victims lost as the result of the earlier fraud or scam, but often failing to deliver on that guarantee. The lawsuit also seeks to obtain an injunction to stop the business from operating in violation of Florida laws. “This company allegedly took advantage of consumers who had already been exploited in previous scams, and today we have taken steps to stop this business from unlawfully operating in Florida,” according to the filings by the State of Florida.According to the investigation, the defendants violated:

· Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act by misrepresenting defendants’ business status and purported fee recovery services and making false and misleading statements to induce consumers to pay for goods or services; The Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule by requesting or receiving upfront payment from consumers for services represented to recover or assist in the return of money paid for by the consumer in a previous telemarketing transaction; and The Florida Telemarketing Act by refusing consumers a refund, credit or replacement for services which are not presented or not received as promised.

On November 4, 2014, the FTC obtained an injunction against Consumer Collection Advocates which effectively shut down the operations of the organization (see Order of Temporary Injunction at http://ccareceivership.com/CCADocuments/OrderGrantingTemporaryRestrainingOrderwithAssetFreeze-AppointmentofReceiver_doc10_11-4-14.pdf ). 

Additionally, the assets of Consumer Collection Advocates  were placed into receivership. Information about the receivership and the eventual  claims process for harmed consumers is available at the receivers website at  http://ccareceivership.com/  

  The Law Office of Robert W. Murphy Consumer Fraud Attorney Fort Lauderdale aggressively litigates claims against fraudsters, especially companies that target victims of consumer fraud. As a result of the inability of consumers to distinguish slick marketing from legitimate advocacy,  many consumers pay up-front fees to con-men who promise to recover money or to represent consumers in disputes with third-parties. To avoid such fraud, the Law Office of Robert Murphy recommends that consumers look for competent legal representation by contacting local and state Bar Associations or by visiting the website of the
 National Association of Consumer Advocates at  http://www.consumeradvocates.org/find-attorney.
Consumer Fraud Attorney Fort Lauderdale

Consumer Fraud Lawyer South Florida


Robert W. Murphy, Esq.
Law Office of Robert W. Murpy
1212 SE 2nd Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33316
Telephone: (954) 763-8660
Cell: (954)683-8691
Fax: (954)763-8607

Attorney Murphy Speaks on Top Ten Senior Consumer Fraud Scams

November 17, 201

 On Monday, November 17, 2014, Attorney Murphy was the guest speaker at the Retired Educators Social Club in Boca Raton, Florida on the topic “Top Ten Senior Consumer Fraud Scams.”  The presentation included a comprehensive review of the rising wave of consumer fraud which specifically targets senior citizens including internet, door-to-door and automobile dealer fraud.
Attorney Murphy Speaks On Senior Consumer Fraud Scams

Attorney Murphy Speaks On Senior Consumer Fraud Scams Florida

See how you can protect your self from common consumer fraud scams

Attorney Murphy Speaks on Senior Consumer Fraud Scams In Florida

Robert W. Murphy, Esq.
Law Office of Robert W. Murphy
1212 SE 2nd Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33316
Telephone: (954) 763-8660
Cell: (954)683-8691
Fax: (954)763-8607

Florida Class Action Attorney Robert Murphy Speaks In Tampa

Robert Murphy was Panel Member on the topic  “The Nexium Conundrum: Class Action Standing Under Article III,” at the Class Action Symposium, hosted by the National Consumer Law Center,  in Tampa on November 9, 2014.  Attorney Murphy discussed the challenges to class action practice presented by constitutional attacks to both class representative and class member standing. 
Attorney Murphy has been appointed lead counsel in consumer class actions throughout the United States.
Florida Class Action Attorney

Florida Class Action Lawyer Robert Murphy

Florida Class Action Lawyer Robert Murphy Speaks In Tampa

 

 

Class Action Lawsuit Against Mitsubishi For Defective Commercial trucks

The Law Office of Robert W. Murphy together with co-counsel recently filed a class action in New Jersey federal court alleging that Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks of America, Inc. (“Mitsubishi”) installed defective emissions control systems in diesel trucks. The lawsuit filed on behalf of a Florida seafood supplier alleges that the so-called “Blue-Tech”® engines installed in commercial trucks were defective. According to Mitsubishi, Blue Tech® is an emissions control technology that utilizes selective catalytic reduction to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions for clean, efficient operation.”  Mitsubishi marketed the BlueTec® engines as a better alternative to the systems installed by other truck engine manufacturers to comply with new EPA regulations.

  According the Complaint in the lawsuit:

           As designed, adapted and installed on the diesel-powered, medium duty trucks sold by Defendant, however, BlueTec® technology has rendered the trucks defective.  Among other things, the technology has resulted in the repeated failures of the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (“DEF”) handler, the fuel injectors, the crank case pressure sensors and breather, the catalytic converter muffler, the DEF tank internal sensor, the engine protection system, the EEC programming, as well as a lack of power, and numerous other problems that have caused the trucks to stall or not restart.  In short, all medium duty trucks with the BlueTec® technology sold by Defendant have manifested a model-wide defect causing operational failures about which purchasers have continuously complained throughout the country.

The Complaint alleges that over 5,000 trucks with the technology were sold.
The Complaint seeks monetary and equitable relief under inter alia the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

Additional information is available at: http://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/41247-mitsubishi-fuso-hit-class-action-lawsuit-bluetec-engine-defect/

Robert W. Murphy Consumer Fraud Lawyer Fort Lauderdale FL

Consumer Fraud Lawyer Fort Lauderdale, FL

Robert W. Murphy Consumer Fraud Lawyer Fort Lauderdale, FL.

 

 

Consumer Rights Attorney in Fort Lauderdale Interviewed On Forced Arbitration by Money Talks News.

Robert Murphy Consumer Rights Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Experts in the video say, forced arbitration is used by companies to prevent them from being sued by you. They do this by adding language into their contracts – often in very tiny print – that requires the signer to submit to an arbitration process of their own choice if you have any complaints about their service.

How does this work? When you sign up for student loans or pay to put a loved one in a nursing home or even agree to a certain job position, there could be a section hidden in the small print. For example, when you buy Comcast services, you are given a twenty plus page contract.

What can you do? Besides urging your own Congress members, not much. An organization called Fair Arbitration Now suggests reading the fine print of your contracts and trying one of three tactics:

  • If the contract has an opt-out clause, use it.
  • If the contract doesn’t have an opt-out clause, ask to opt out anyway (although your odds aren’t good).
  • Take your business to a competitor (although it may be hard to find one that doesn’t also use forced arbitration).

http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/07/08/forced-arbitration-when-your-rights-get-the-runaround

CFPB takes action to stop Florida company from engaging in illegal debt-relief practice

Unfair Debt Collection Attorney Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Bureau alleges company’s conduct is abusive and deceptive

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today filed a complaintUnfair Debt Collection Lawyer Fort Lauderdale in a federal district court against a Florida debt-relief company that misled consumers across the country and charged illegal fees for their services. The Bureau plans to submit a proposed consent order that, if approved by the court, would halt the company’s operation, prevent the company and owner from providing debt-relief services in the future, and impose a $15,000 civil penalty fine. Fair Debt Collection Lawyer Murphy helps victims of unlawful debt collection practices.
“Today we are taking action to halt a debt-relief company we believe has been preying on financially vulnerable consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Consumers struggling to pay off a debt are among the most at risk and deserve better. We will continue to crack down on this type of harmful behavior.”
A Bureau investigation found that American Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc. (ADSS) and its owner Michael DiPanni routinely charged consumers illegal upfront fees for debt-relief services that rarely, if ever, materialized. In total, the CFPB believes that in the course of their illegal conduct, the defendants charged approximately $500,000 in fees to hundreds of consumers in multiple states. The proposed consent order would award a judgment against the company of approximately $500,000, which would be suspended based on the company’s inability to pay.
The Bureau alleges that ADSS and DiPanni violated the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the Dodd-Frank Act by charging the illegal up-front fees and making misrepresentations to consumers about their debt-relief services. ADSS deceived consumers by making numerous misrepresentations to lure in consumers who were deeply in debt and in dire circumstances. The upfront fees and the company’s failure to provide the promised services often caused consumers to fall further into debt.
In addition, the Bureau believes that the defendants engaged in abusive acts or practices by signing up and charging fees to vulnerable consumers who the defendants knew had inadequate incomes to complete the debt-relief programs in which they were enrolled. More specifically, ADSS:
  • Misled consumers by falsely promising them it would begin to settle their debts within three to six months when, in reality, services rarely materialized;
  • Enrolled consumers despite knowing that their income level made it highly unlikely that they could complete the debt-relief programs;
  • Collected upfront “enrollment” fees from consumers who ADSS knew could not afford the monthly payments required by these debt-relief programs, causing the consumers to spend their last savings on fees for services from which they ultimately would not benefit; and
  • Failed to settle these consumers’ debts within the promised time, forcing many consumers to drop out of the program and forfeit their “enrollment” fees without having received any debt-relief services.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 prohibits abusive debt collection practices in the consumer-financial marketplace. If someone – a person or a company – takes unreasonable advantage of a consumer in certain ways or interferes with a consumer’s ability to understand a term or condition of a financial product or service, the Bureau may take enforcement action. Today’s action is the first time the CFPB is enforcing this prohibition on abusive acts or practices.
This action is part of the CFPB’s comprehensive effort to prevent consumer harm in the debt-relief industry. The Bureau is working to ensure federal consumer financial laws are being followed at every stage of the process and is focusing not only on debt-relief companies, but also on those who facilitate their unlawful conduct and who may also violate federal consumer financial laws.
Consumer rights lawyer Robert Murphy has been litigating against abusive business practices for nearly two decades. Our office has successfully brought claims against debt settlement and credit repair agencies that charge hundreds and often thousands of dollars with little or no benefit to the consumer.

Abusive debt collection Practices

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU TAKES ACTION TO STOP FLORIDA COMPANY FROM ENGAGING IN ILLEGAL DEBT-RELIEF PRACTICE

Bureau Alleges Company’s Conduct is Abusive and Deceptive
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today filed a complaint in a federal district court against a Florida debt-relief company that misled consumers across the country and charged illegal fees for their services. The Bureau plans to submit a proposed consent order that, if approved by the court, would halt the company’s operation, prevent the company and owner from providing debt-relief services in the future, and impose a $15,000 civil penalty fine.
Unfair debt collection attorney ft lauderdaleToday we are taking action to halt a debt-relief company we believe has been preying on financially vulnerable consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Consumers struggling to pay off a debt are among the most at risk and deserve better. We will continue to crack down on this type of harmful behavior.” Murphy Law is an Unfair Debt Collection Attorney Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
A Bureau investigation found that American Debt Settlement Solutions, Inc. (ADSS) and its owner Michael DiPanni routinely charged consumers illegal upfront fees for debt-relief services that rarely, if ever, materialized. In total, the CFPB believes that in the course of their illegal conduct, the defendants charged approximately $500,000 in fees to hundreds of consumers in multiple states. The proposed consent order would award a judgment against the company of approximately $500,000, which would be suspended based on the company’s inability to pay.
The Bureau alleges that ADSS and DiPanni violated the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the Dodd-Frank Act by charging the illegal up-front fees and making misrepresentations to consumers about their debt-relief services. ADSS deceived consumers by making numerous misrepresentations to lure in consumers who were deeply in debt and in dire circumstances. The upfront fees and the company’s failure to provide the promised services often caused consumers to fall further into debt. Fair Debt Collection Lawyer Murphy
In addition, the Bureau believes that the defendants engaged in abusive acts or practices by signing up and charging fees to vulnerable consumers who the defendants knew had inadequate incomes to complete the debt-relief programs in which they were enrolled. More specifically, ADSS:
·         Misled consumers by falsely promising them it would begin to settle their debts within three to six months when, in reality, services rarely materialized;
·         Enrolled consumers despite knowing that their income level made it highly unlikely that they could complete the debt-relief programs;
·         Collected upfront “enrollment” fees from consumers who ADSS knew could not afford the monthly payments required by these debt-relief programs, causing the consumers to spend their last savings on fees for services from which they ultimately would not benefit; and
·         Failed to settle these consumers’ debts within the promised time, forcing many consumers to drop out of the program and forfeit their “enrollment” fees without having received any debt-relief services.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 prohibits abusive acts or practices in the consumer-financial marketplace. If someone – a person or a company – takes unreasonable advantage of a consumer in certain ways or interferes with a consumer’s ability to understand a term or condition of a financial product or service, the Bureau may take enforcement action. Today’s action is the first time the CFPB is enforcing this prohibition on abusive acts or practices.

Fair Debt Collection Attorney Florida

The Law Office of Robert W. Murphy has a  long history of advocacy in preventing and remedying consumer harm in the debt-relief industry.  During the last several years, the State of Florida has become a haven for such business enterprises- which often provide no benefit to consumers  despite the payment of extraordinary fees. Unfortunately, many such businesses operate without a “bricks and mortar” presence- in other words, the enterprise does not have a physical location or identifiable assets or even employees. Rather, the enterprise may utilize  remote call centers, leased employees and third-party money transmitters such as Western Union to avoid being easily shut down. While our law office may not be able to obtain compensation for most consumers injured by such businesses, we can offer guidance on how to solicit the help of governmental agencies, such as the CFPB and the Florida Attorney General’s office.

U.S. Defendants Who Allegedly Abetted Fake Debt Collector Calls from India Agree to Settle FTC Charges

Callers Often Posed as Law Enforcement Authorities; Defendants will Be Permanently Barred from Debt Collection, Surrender Ill-Gotten Gains

Abusive Debt Collectors

A California man who worked with bogus debt collectors in India has agreed to settle FTC charges that he and his companies deceived and threatened consumers into paying debts that were not owed or that the defendants were not authorized to collect. As part of the settlement, the defendants will turn over nearly all of their assets, amounting to an estimated $170,000, which will be used for consumer refunds. The case against Villa Park, California-based Varang K. Thaker, American Credit Crunchers, LLC, and Ebeeze, LLC, is part of the FTC’s continuing crackdown on fake debt collectors.  The settlement order bans the defendants from debt collection, and prohibits them from misrepresenting:

  • that they are affiliated with the government or a non-profit group,
  • any terms or conditions for buying any good or service,
  • any aspects of the good or service, and
  • their refund policy.
The order includes a $5.4 million judgment, which is equivalent to the full amount of injury. The monetary judgment will be partially suspended due to the defendants’ inability to pay, but if it is determined that the financial information they gave the FTC was untruthful, the remaining amount of the judgment will become due. The FTC Complaint alleged that the callers who worked with the defendants would contact consumers who previously had received or inquired about online payday loans. Often pretending to be law enforcement or other government authorities, the callers would falsely threaten arrest  on a supposedly delinquent payday loan. The FTC alleged that information submitted by consumers who had applied online for these loans found its way into the hands of the defendants, who used it to convince consumers that they owed them money. Saying they represented the local police department, the “Federal Department of Crime and Prevention,” or simply a “federal investigator,” the callers allegedly typically demanded more than $300, and sometimes as much as $2,000. At other times, the callers claimed to be filing a large lawsuit against the consumer, or threatened to have the consumer fired from his or her job, according to the FTC. But the consumers did not owe money to defendants – either the payday loan debts did not exist or the defendants had no authority to collect them because they were owed to someone else, the FTC alleged. Consumers received millions of collection calls from India, and in a two-year period the operation took in more than $5 million from victims, according to the FTC. During that time, consumers filed more than 4,000 complaints with the FTC and state attorneys general about fraudulent debt collection calls. The FTC charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. According to the complaint, they:
  • falsely told consumers they were delinquent on a loan, they must pay it, and the defendants had the authority to collect it.
  • falsely claimed to be law enforcement authorities or attorneys.
  • made false threats against consumers who refused to pay the alleged debts, including threats of arrest or imprisonment.
  • harassed and threatened consumers so they often paid the alleged debts out of fear of being arrested or sued.
The Commission vote approving proposed final order and permanent injunction was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen not participating. The FTC filed the proposed final order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and it was entered by the Court on October 10, 2012.
NOTE: This final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated. Final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge. The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.
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  The Law Firm of Robert W. Murphy aggressively litigates claims against abusive debt collectors. If you have been subjected to harassment or abuse by a debt collector, you may have the ability to bring a claim for statutory and actual damages under federal and state law. Our office typically handles such caes on a “results obtained” or contin- meaning, that our fees are paid by the debt collector.

Fake Debt Collectors

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU DEBUTS SPANISH LANGUAGE WEBSITE

Consumer Fraud Attorney MurphyCFPB en Español Features Mobile Capability and Answers to Consumers’ Common Financial Questions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched its Spanish language website. The website, which is optimized for mobile use, provides access to essential consumer resources such as how to submit a consumer complaint and answers to consumers’ frequently asked questions.

“The CFPB is dedicated to being as accessible as possible for the greatest number of consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “CFPB en Español can be a trusted resource for Spanish-speaking consumers looking for clear information on consumer rights attorney and services.”

The CFPB’s mission is to make the consumer financial markets work for all Americans and to empower consumers to make informed, responsible financial decisions. Latinos were particularly hard hit by the recent financial crisis and are often targeted for financial scams. Latinos are also more likely to be unbanked, underbanked, or use alternative products like money transfers and payday loans. According to Census data, 37 million people speak primarily Spanish at home, and of those, 45 percent do not speak English very well. It is critical that those consumers have a place to turn for understandable, unbiased consumer financial information.

More than 75 percent of Latinos access the internet from a mobile device, at least occasionally, according to the September 2012 Pew Hispanic Center National Survey of Latinos. CFPB en Español uses responsive design to optimize content for use on both mobile devices and computers in order to better serve all consumers. CFPB en Español currently features 250 Ask CFPB questions with more to come. Ask CFPB is an online, interactive database of consumers’ most frequently asked questions and answers. The answers are written in easy-to-read, plain language by CFPB subject-matter experts and are an objective resource for consumers. The answers cover common financial situations, from paying for college and owning a home to dealing with debt and sending money to another country.

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Consumer Rights Attorney

Attorney Murphy applauds the CFPB in its efforts to expand consumer information to all Americans- including the underserved Spanish speaking community.  Our law office has aggressively  litigated cases against businesses which fail to provide non-English language disclosures when mandated by specific laws or trade regulations. As an example, in one past federal lawsuit, our firm represented a car buyer against an auto dealer that failed to provide Spanish-language material in either the buyer’s guide or the car window sticker, when the transaction was made in Spanish,  for violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA).

 

Attorney General Announces Suit Against JPMorgan Chase for Fraudulent and Unlawful Debt-Collection Practices

Fraudulent and Unlawful Debt-Collection Practices 

Unfair Debt Collection PracticesAttorney General Kamala D. Harris of California Announces Suit Against JPMorgan Chase for Fraudulent and Unlawful Debt-Collection Practices. LOS ANGELES — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today filed an enforcement action against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase) alleging that the bank engaged in fraudulent and unlawful debt-collection practices against tens of thousands of Californians. The suit alleges that Chase engaged in widespread, illegal robo-signing, among other unlawful practices, to commit debt-collection abuse against approximately 100,000 California credit card borrowers over at least a three-year period.  “Chase abused the judicial process and engaged in serious misconduct against California credit card borrowers,” Attorney General Harris said. “ This enforcement action seeks to hold Chase accountable for systematically using illegal tactics to flood California’s courts with specious lawsuits against consumers. My office will demand a permanent halt to these practices and redress for borrowers who have been harmed.”
 From January 2008 through April 2011, Chase filed thousands of debt collection lawsuits every month in the State of California. On one day alone, Chase filed 469 such lawsuits in California. The Attorney General’s complaint against Chase alleges that, to maintain this pace, Chase employed unlawful practices as
shortcuts to obtain judgments against California consumers with speed and ease that could not have been possible if Chase had adhered to the minimum
substantive and procedural protections required by law. “At nearly every stage of the collection process, Defendants cut corners in the name of speed, cost savings, and their own convenience, providing only the thinnest veneer of legitimacy to their lawsuits,” the complaint states.

Chase used California’s judicial system as a mill to obtain default judgments, the suit alleges, using illegal tactics to flood the state’s court system in
order to secure default judgments and garnish wages from Californians.

The alleged misconduct includes:

• Robo-signing: Chase illegally robo-signed various litigation filings, including sworn documents, declarations, and verified complaints, without
reviewing the relevant files or bank records or even reading the documents before signing.
• “Sewer Service”: Chase failed to properly serve notice of debt collection lawsuits against consumers while claiming they had been served as required by
law. This practice, known as “sewer service,” deprives the consumer of any notice of the lawsuit.
• Filing Irregularities: Chase haphazardly assembled its official legal filings. For example, Chase failed to redact consumers’ personal information in
attachments to filings, potentially exposing them to identity theft and in violation of California law. In addition, when asking courts to enter default
judgments against consumers, Chase consistently swore under penalty of perjury that the consumers were not on active military duty. In fact, Chase never
checked.  This deprived service members of important legal protections to which they are entitled while on active duty.

Unlawful Debt-Collection Practices

The Law Ofice of Robert W. Murphy routinely litigates claims against creditors and debt collectors who do do not give consumers their due process and statutory rights under federal and state law.  Consumers who believe they have been victims of this misconduct or similar misconduct in the State of Florida should contact our law firm.
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Our job is to protect consumer rights in the State of Florida. Call us today for a consultation. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.