Everyday Law

December 23, 2008

Be responsible little consumers, darn it! Get out there and shop!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy Kleinpeter @ 5:04 pm

Is this seriously the advice that CNBC is putting out this holiday season?  Yo Ho Ho Ho — what proof rum have those drunk Santas been swilling?  With both debt and unemloyment numbers increasing nationwide, the dangers of living paycheck to paycheck or even worse, spending ABOVE your check, should becoming very clear.  However, using the same “Buy buy buy!” mentality that got us into this mess, CNBC actually encourages people to spend their way out of our bad economy.

Using the “Saving money is for ch-ch-chickens, bawk, bawk” theme, CNBC says fear is keeping shoppers from throwing away hard-earned money on crap shopping.

Here’s the article along with a pretty picture of the author.  I wonder how much shopping went into that perfect hair?

http://www.cnbc.com/id/28314950

There’s no shortage of bad news when it comes to the economy – the recession, fears of deflation and elevated jobless claims are just some of the things that people are talking about. The widespread sentiment of doom and gloom has put a damper on the holiday season. But is slowed consumer spending a result of hard economics or is the psychology of hard times holding consumers back?


Jackie DeAngelis
CNBC
Producer

In a recent study released by the Pew Research Center, it was reported that 73% of Americans say they plan to cut back on their holiday shopping this year. Nearly six-in-10 of those who said they’re cutting back report they’re doing so because they worry things might get worse; only 28% said they are cutting back because their financial situation has deteriorated.

Sure, we all need to save more and spend less, but extreme tightening might be the worst thing that consumers can do in tough times, as stopping normal spending will only put more pressure on the weak economy.

In order to fight the fear factor, consumers should not fight the urge to splurge — within reason of course. In fact, they should take advantage of falling gas prices to get out and about, take advantage of deep discounts in the stores and online for gift giving, and remember that giving this holiday season will lift spirits more than ever before.

Jackie DeAngelis is a writer and producer at CNBC. Previously she worked as a financial analyst at Oaktree Capital Mgmt. Jackie earned her J.D. from Rutgers Law School in 2008 and her B.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University in 2002


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December 18, 2008

Pants guy loses his appeal — thank goodness!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy Kleinpeter @ 11:16 pm

If I have to hear about the idiot who sued a drycleaner for millions of dollars over some mishap involving pants — AND how this is an example of trial attorneys ruining the country one more time I may have to SCREAM.

Doesn’t anyone notice that the idiot represented himself? He’s a judge, yet he could not find a single attorney to represent him? Maybe that is a sign that attorneys actually DO screen their cases? But really, why mess up a good fund-raising story with logic…

I cannot believe honest thoughtful people would allow this story to be a bonanza for groups trying to change the Consumer Protection Laws.  I mean seriously — one nutter and his pants and now suddenly we need to rewrite laws?  That makes no sense, that is simple hysterics.

Credit Repair Organizations — NO FEE until work is done

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy Kleinpeter @ 11:13 pm
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Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, anyone (including lawyers and law firms) who promises to fix your credit for a fee can NOT take any of that fee until after the work is completed. Just thought you should know…if they take money up front, they are breaking the law. Maybe not someone you should be trusting …

Debt negotiation companies — how can it hurt?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy Kleinpeter @ 11:11 pm

You hear the advertisements on radio — Special programs!  Pay off your debt at a dramatically reduced rate!  Avoid life in prison castration BANKRUPTCY!

So it sounds too good to be true…but you call and it sounds very convincing.  What’s the harm in trying it out?

One word — lawsuits.  Any company that tells you otherwise is not helping you.

First, here is how debt negotiation typically works — if a company follows this procedure and calls it something else, they are still debt negotiators.  Let’s call them DN.

You sign contract with DN.  Contract is mostly admissions that DN may not be able to help you and you cannot sue them but must arbitrate any disagreement.

You change your credit card and personal loan bills’ addresses to the DN.  You quit making any payments on these loans.  You send money each month to DN.   Some of that goes to DN as a fee.  Some goes into an account to help pay back your debt.

Credit card lender, personal loan lender, or a collection company will send letter to DN.  Citibank will do something like this “Hey, Joe Schmoe just changed addresses to a DN.  Make him an offer NOW.”   Citi sends offer letter but because DN has taken most all of your first two payments as fees, you have nothing to pay.

Citi files a lawsuit against you which will be hard to defend as they are the original creditor and you just quit paying your bills a few months before.   In some states like California, if Citibank wins their lawsuit, your wages will get garnished once a judgment is entered against you.

I used Citi as an example, but this can happen with any lender when you join a debt negotiation company.

But what about those reduced rates — those special relationships between lenders and the DN?  Well, if you quit paying your credit cards and personal loans tomorrow, they would start sending you offers to negotiate with a lump sum payout in a few months.  That just is what the lender or debt collector ALWAYS does.  The DN does not “negotiate” anything.

So, avoid the debt negotiators.  Trust yourself — if it sounds too good to be true and involves you giving up money in the beginning for promised rewards in the future — it’s probably a scam.  Debt negotiation companies cannot live up to their radio advertisements.  I am not saying no one has never been helped by a DN – -just many more have just lost money on fees and ended up still in debt but wtih judgments against them.

December 11, 2008

Yeah, I’m back…believe it!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy Kleinpeter @ 2:45 pm

After one rockin’ post, I am back in the saddle.  Or I should say I am in the saddle shop, looking for a saddle that fits and I am going to BUY it and bring it home and please someone help me stop this metaphor before it takes over this little post.  This blog shall soon have many posts, sometimes more than one a day, on various consumer issues from bankrutpcy to employment (or loss of employment) to debt collection harassment, credit reports — whatever is interesting (to me) and either in the news or on my mind.

February 12, 2007

Welcome to Everyday Law!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy Kleinpeter @ 6:50 am

I feel like I should be welcoming myself — I am new to blogging and you are all probably old hat at reading. So I am the new one here. Newness aside, I do have some things to say and information to provide that I know can be helpful to people. I just hope to be entertaining enough to keep people reading.

Someone recently gave me an opportunity to speak very briefly on one of my areas of expertise — consumer bankruptcy. The topic was “Common mistakes I see my clients make”. The difficulty was in keeping my advice brief! My clients are all wonderful people, but they are not experts in bankruptcy. Why would they want to be? They have their own full lives to run. My job as an attorney is to help them decide if a bankruptcy would help their financial situation and then help them to successfully GET that bankruptcy and the fresh start it offers.

Unfortunately, sometimes people do things before seeing a lawyer that just dig themselves deeper into trouble, and that was what I hope this blog can be about.

Before you are at a point where you need an attorney, there are still bits of law that are useful to know. Being familiar with the law, whenever it intersects with your daily life, can keep you out of court and out of trouble. The areas of law I know best are three:

(1) consumer bankruptcy;

(2) consumer law, including fighting harassment and intimidation by debt collectors; and

(3) employment law, especially fighting discrimination in the workplace and protecting whistleblowers.

I hope to have some guest bloggers on here sometimes as well — attorneys who can add information relating to car accidents, copyrights, divorces, child custody and wills. But for now, I think I will have a lot to say on my own.

— Amy Kleinpeter

Clark Kleinpeter Law

Pasadena, California

http://www.amykleinpeter.com

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