Each Of The 8 HP Laptops I've Bought Suffer From Blue Screen Of Death

(qshio)

Dan made a boo-boo and now he’s blue-blue. He broke his wife’s laptop and decided to replace it with a HP DV6t Special Edition laptop, picking one up for himself too. But he’s not the only one suffering from discoloration, so are his laptops’ screens. They’re continually afflicted by the dread “Blue Screen of Death.” He’s called and complained and exchanged the laptops several times, but each time, BSOD. They’re on laptops 7 8 now. What’s the deal?

Dan writes:

Dear Consumerist:

I’m hoping you can help. I broke my wife’s laptop by accident and needed to replace it. I found a great deal from HP back on December 4. It was such a good price on a fairly high-end laptop, I decided to replace my older, slower laptop too. A friend had recently ordered a similar model and was thrilled with it. I ordered from the HP website.

On December 13th I received the two laptops and began the setup on the first one. After about 10 minutes the laptop crashed, the blue screen came on stating “Windows has shut down”, etc. I called HP and spoke with several service technicians regarding the problem, and they helped me try several things and did a complete reinstall with recovery manager, and the computer continued to crash. I then opened the second laptop and had the exact same problem, the blue screen. After speaking with HP again we decided to return the laptops and re-order them.

We received computer three on Dec 24 and the same issues arose (always in the first few minutes). Another call to service technicians, and we again tried everything again reloading the system with a reinstall. It continued to crash, and I was getting fed up with seeing blue screens. On December 29th we received computer number four- and yep, same blue screen.

When the service technicians could not fix it, after insisting on someone with additional skills, I was then sent to the next tier of technicians. It was a day later and I received a call from Matt. Matt was also not able to help and asked that I send the computer in for a repair, I told Matt that repair was not an option as the computer was only a few hours old. So he said my only other option was to reorder the computers again. I guess I’m stubborn, but on December 28th and 29th computer number five (5) and six (6) were ordered.

On January 5th I received the fifth computer and yes the same problem – system continued to shut down. On January 10th the sixth computer arrived and both have the familiar crash—shutdown—blue that I’ve come to expect.

Finally, I found a number for Executive Customer Service. I called and talked with a great person Wanda. She took all of the information and said she would send it off to the HP store executive and that they would get back to me with a solution. That was two weeks ago and to date I have not heard from Wanda or the HP Store Executive.

On January 12 I reordered two more computers, numbers 7 and 8. On Jan 24th I received them and again both of the computer crashed- shutdown – blue screen. I am at a loss and I am getting nowhere with HP. Today I tried to call Wanda at HP Executive Service and at this time I have not received a returned phone call. Just for fun, do I order computers 9 and 10? I might have a record here.

Can Consumerist help? I’m feeling kind of…blue.

Thanks,
Dan

At this point I think you should just cut your losses, ask for a refund under lemon law, and go buy a different model.

We’ve reached out to HP for comment and to see if they have any advice for Dan and his wife.


Black Unemployment Update: Lee Wants to Extend Benefits




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Black Unemployment Update: Lee Wants
to Extend Benefits

By Robert “Rob”
Redding Jr.

Editor
Publisher

ATLANTA, Feb. 6

,
2011, 10 a.m.

Rep. Barbara Lee is calling for Congress to fund relief
for the long-term unemployed, in reaction to last week’s unemployment
numbers.

The California Democrat issued this call after
the jobs report showed that the nation’s unemployment rate
dropped to 9 percent in January, down from 9.4 percent the month
before. There are nearly 14 million unemployed.

What’s more, the department’s
report indicates black unemployment is at 15.7 percent. The rate is down
from 15.8 percent last month and 16 percent in November. The highest
rate, since President Obama took office, was 16.3 percent in August.
 

Cummings Recognizes Continued Economic Growth

Story continues below ↓



Congresswoman Barbara Lee Issues Statement in Recognition of the
Lunar New Year
 

Lee on the Lunar New Year

 

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) released the following
statement in commemoration of the Lunar New Year, which begins today,
Thursday, February 3:

 

Lee Releases Statement in Honor of Black History
Month

Cummings Welcomes Federal Reserve Decision
 

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was pleased this week with
the decision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve to avoid
finalizing a rulemaking that would have eliminated an important consumer
protection currently provided by the Truth In Lending Act (TILA).

Lee Issues Statement on the
Killing of David Kato Kisulle

Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-09) released
the following statement in response to the murder of Ugandan LGBT Advocate,
David Kato Kisulle.

Return to
ReddingNewsReview.com

© RCI
2011. All Rights
Reserved.

Top Florida consumer concerns – and how best to combat them – Fort Lauderdale Sun

Florida consumer complaints were up slightly in 2010 compared to recent years, with the biggest gripes having to do with credit card companies and banks, phone service providers and, of course, telemarketers.

Last year the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received 40,611 written complaints from residents, up from from about 38,000 in 2009 and 37,227 in 2008. The department “successfully closed or resolved” 35,831 of those complaints, said agency spokesman Sterling Ivey.

But when it comes to protecting your wallet and rights as a consumer, statistics are not as important as knowing how to avoid being ripped off or mistreated when paying for a product or service – and where to turn when it happens.
No surprise that unwanted phone calls during dinner time or similar behavior from telemarketers account for the top category of Florida complaints. Telemarketers top the list most years.

Here are the top Florida consumer complaints of 2010 and what you should know:

Telemarketers, 8,599 complaints: Telemarketers calling consumers who signed up with the state’s Do Not Call list to avoid such calls typically accounts for the majority of complaints in this category. Some people don’t realize, however, that some solicitors are exempt, such as calls from political campaigns and charities. To protect yourself from the rest, call the consumer services department at 800-435-7352 or visit http://www.800helpfla.com. Expect to pay a $10 registration fee and annual $5 renewal fee.

Many other telemarketer complaints deal with issues of fraud, identity theft and misleading information. Never provide personal information over the phone unless you know exactly who you are dealing with. Don’t fall for pressure tactics and seek written information about guarantees, warranties or rebates. before you agree to pay for any product or service.

Credit and banking, 2,528 complaints: Unexpected or unfair charges related to credi card charges, bank statements and overdraft plans make this a list topper. Knowing your rights helps. For instance a recent federal requires banks to receive customer permission before enrollment in an overdraft plan, however the rule covers only ATM and debit cards.

Always ask your bank or credit card issuer about all fees related to your accounts and check your bank statements carefully for mistakes. If you find one, contact the company immediately. Waiting too long could mean you end up paying for charges you didn’t intend.


Communications, 2,248 complaints: Confusion about fees and taxes found on your home phone bill come into play here. To help, the Public Service Commission publishes a brochure that can help you decipher your statements and billing terms. Call 800-342-3552 or visit http://www.floridapsc.com.


Vacation and travel programs, 1,977 complaints: This is your category if you sign up and pay to enroll in vacation-related programs and end up not getting all of the discounts and freebies as promised. Nobody needs to sign up for a travel program to find travel deals. For instance, reputable Websites like SeatGuru.com, Kayak.com and Traelocity.com can help you find bargains on airfare, hotels and more.

Whatever travel company you use, pay with credit card to make it easier to resolve disputes. And you have a legal right to cancel a contract if the travel club receives your written request before midnight on the third business day after you signed the contract. Always send such requests via certified mail or deliver in person.

Motor vehicle repairs, 1,902 complaints: Repair shops must be registered with the state consumer services department. Call 800-435-7352 to verify a shop’s registration and check complaint history. Repair bills cannot exceed a written estimate by more than $10 or 10 percent, with a maximum of $50, without your approval, as provided by Florida law.

Real estate sales and brokers, 1,627 complaints: Loan modification problems is a big culprit here. You should know state law does not allow mortgage loan modifiers to collect cash in advance of work. Also anyone doing modifications must be a mortgage broker licensed through the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. To check a license, call 800-848-3792 or visit http://www.flofr.com.


Motor vehicle sales, 1,492 complaints: Cars gone bad before their time is top complaint. Florida’s Lemon Law protects car buyers who end up with defective vehicles, but only if they were leased or purchased new. It’s important to run a vehicle history report, such as CarFax, before buying a used car. Depending on the price of the car, you may not want to just rely on a history report since they may contain errors. It is always good to ask a mechanic you trust to check out the car before putting money down. To report a rolled-back odometer or use a vehicle identification number to find a previous car owner call 850-617-2000.

Landlord and tenant disputes, 1,415 complaints: State law requires landlords to give tenants renting by the month 15 days notice before eviction, unless they have a signed lease waiving those rights. Avoid such waivers when you can. And don’t provide a deposit until you are absolutely sure you want to rent the property. And get in writing how your deposit will be used and how much you should expect to be returned.


Medical issues, 1,046 complaints: Unexpected or incorrect prescription drug costs and limited insurance coverage often lead to consumer complaints. Check your bills carefully for errors or duplicate charges. Contact your insurer as soon as possible should you find a problem. In the event the insurer wrongly refuses to remove incorrect charges or cover its share of the medical bill, call the state Subscriber Assistance Program at 888-419-3456.

Have a complaint of your own? Call the state consumer services department at 800-435-7352 or visit http://www.800helpfla.com.

Daniel Vasquez can be reached at dvasquez@SunSentinel.com, or 954-356-4219, or 561-243-6600, ext. 4219. To see more columns from Daniel Vasquez, go to SunSentinel.com/vasquez.

Check out Daniel Vasquez’s Consumer Talk blog for ways to spend your money wisely, use technology to make life easier and keep your family safe and healthy at SunSentinel.com/consumerblog.


Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Daniel Vasquez column


Feb 04, 2011 (Sun Sentinel – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) —
Florida consumer complaints were up slightly in 2010 compared to recent years, with the biggest gripes having to do with credit card companies and banks, phone service providers and, of course, telemarketers.

Last year the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received 40,611 written complaints from residents, up from from about 38,000 in 2009 and 37,227 in 2008. The department “successfully closed or resolved” 35,831 of those complaints, said agency spokesman Sterling Ivey.

But when it comes to protecting your wallet and rights as a consumer, statistics are not as important as knowing how to avoid being ripped off or mistreated when paying for a product or service — and where to turn when it happens.aEURNo surprise that unwanted phone calls during dinner time or similar behavior from telemarketers account for the top category of Florida complaints. Telemarketers top the list most years.

Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.

Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.

Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.


Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.


Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.


Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.

Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.

Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.

Here are the top Florida consumer complaints of 2010 and what you should know:
Telemarketers, 8,599 complaints: Telemarketers calling consumers who signed up with the state’s Do Not Call list to avoid such calls typically accounts for the majority of complaints in this category. Some people don’t realize, however, that some solicitors are exempt, such as calls from political campaigns and charities. To protect yourself from the rest, call the consumer services department at 800-435-7352 or visit http://www.800helpfla.com. Expect to pay a $10 registration fee and annual $5 renewal fee.

Many other telemarketer complaints deal with issues of fraud, identity theft and misleading information. Never provide personal information over the phone unless you know exactly who you are dealing with. Don’t fall for pressure tactics and seek written information about guarantees, warranties or rebates. before you agree to pay for any product or service.

Credit and banking, 2,528 complaints: Unexpected or unfair charges related to credi card charges, bank statements and overdraft plans make this a list topper. Knowing your rights helps. For instance a recent federal requires banks to receive customer permission before enrollment in an overdraft plan, however the rule covers only ATM and debit cards.

Always ask your bank or credit card issuer about all fees related to your accounts and check your bank statements carefully for mistakes. If you find one, contact the company immediately. Waiting too long could mean you end up paying for charges you didn’t intend.aEUR

Communications, 2,248 complaints: Confusion about fees and taxes found on your home phone bill come into play here. To help, the Public Service Commission publishes a brochure that can help you decipher your statements and billing terms. Call 800-342-3552 or visit http://www.floridapsc.com.aEUR

Vacation and travel programs, 1,977 complaints: This is your category if you sign up and pay to enroll in vacation-related programs and end up not getting all of the discounts and freebies as promised. Nobody needs to sign up for a travel program to find travel deals. For instance, reputable Websites like SeatGuru.com, Kayak.com and Traelocity.com can help you find bargains on airfare, hotels and more.

Whatever travel company you use, pay with credit card to make it easier to resolve disputes. And you have a legal right to cancel a contract if the travel club receives your written request before midnight on the third business day after you signed the contract. Always send such requests via certified mail or deliver in person.

Motor vehicle repairs, 1,902 complaints: Repair shops must be registered with the state consumer services department. Call 800-435-7352 to verify a shop’s registration and check complaint history. Repair bills cannot exceed a written estimate by more than $10 or 10 percent, with a maximum of $50, without your approval, as provided by Florida law.

Real estate sales and brokers, 1,627 complaints: Loan modification problems is a big culprit here. You should know state law does not allow mortgage loan modifiers to collect cash in advance of work. Also anyone doing modifications must be a mortgage broker licensed through the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. To check a license, call 800-848-3792 or visit http://www.flofr.com.aEUR

Motor vehicle sales, 1,492 complaints: Cars gone bad before their time is top complaint. Florida’s Lemon Law protects car buyers who end up with defective vehicles, but only if they were leased or purchased new. It’s important to run a vehicle history report, such as CarFax, before buying a used car. Depending on the price of the car, you may not want to just rely on a history report since they may contain errors. It is always good to ask a mechanic you trust to check out the car before putting money down. To report a rolled-back odometer or use a vehicle identification number to find a previous car owner call 850-617-2000.

Landlord and tenant disputes, 1,415 complaints: State law requires landlords to give tenants renting by the month 15 days notice before eviction, unless they have a signed lease waiving those rights. Avoid such waivers when you can. And don’t provide a deposit until you are absolutely sure you want to rent the property. And get in writing how your deposit will be used and how much you should expect to be returned.aEUR

Medical issues, 1,046 complaints: Unexpected or incorrect prescription drug costs and limited insurance coverage often lead to consumer complaints. Check your bills carefully for errors or duplicate charges. Contact your insurer as soon as possible should you find a problem. In the event the insurer wrongly refuses to remove incorrect charges or cover its share of the medical bill, call the state Subscriber Assistance Program at 888-419-3456.

Have a complaint of your own? Call the state consumer services department at 800-435-7352 or visit http://www.800helpfla.com.

Daniel Vasquez can be reached at dvasquez@SunSentinel.com, or 954-356-4219, or 561-243-6600, ext. 4219. To see more columns from Daniel Vasquez, go to SunSentinel.com/vasquez.

Check out Daniel Vasquez’s Consumer Talk blog for ways to spend your money wisely, use technology to make life easier and keep your family safe and healthy at SunSentinel.com/consumerblog.

To see more of the Sun Sentinel or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/. Copyright (c) 2011, Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale,
Fla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information
about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
(MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com.

[ Back To TMCnet.com’s Homepage ]

Top Florida consumer concerns – and how best to combat them

Florida consumer complaints were up slightly in 2010 compared to recent years, with the biggest gripes having to do with credit card companies and banks, phone service providers and, of course, telemarketers.

Last year the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received 40,611 written complaints from residents, up from from about 38,000 in 2009 and 37,227 in 2008. The department “successfully closed or resolved” 35,831 of those complaints, said agency spokesman Sterling Ivey.

But when it comes to protecting your wallet and rights as a consumer, statistics are not as important as knowing how to avoid being ripped off or mistreated when paying for a product or service – and where to turn when it happens.
No surprise that unwanted phone calls during dinner time or similar behavior from telemarketers account for the top category of Florida complaints. Telemarketers top the list most years.

Here are the top Florida consumer complaints of 2010 and what you should know:

Telemarketers, 8,599 complaints: Telemarketers calling consumers who signed up with the state’s Do Not Call list to avoid such calls typically accounts for the majority of complaints in this category. Some people don’t realize, however, that some solicitors are exempt, such as calls from political campaigns and charities. To protect yourself from the rest, call the consumer services department at 800-435-7352 or visit http://www.800helpfla.com. Expect to pay a $10 registration fee and annual $5 renewal fee.

Many other telemarketer complaints deal with issues of fraud, identity theft and misleading information. Never provide personal information over the phone unless you know exactly who you are dealing with. Don’t fall for pressure tactics and seek written information about guarantees, warranties or rebates. before you agree to pay for any product or service.

Credit and banking, 2,528 complaints: Unexpected or unfair charges related to credi card charges, bank statements and overdraft plans make this a list topper. Knowing your rights helps. For instance a recent federal requires banks to receive customer permission before enrollment in an overdraft plan, however the rule covers only ATM and debit cards.

Always ask your bank or credit card issuer about all fees related to your accounts and check your bank statements carefully for mistakes. If you find one, contact the company immediately. Waiting too long could mean you end up paying for charges you didn’t intend.


Communications, 2,248 complaints: Confusion about fees and taxes found on your home phone bill come into play here. To help, the Public Service Commission publishes a brochure that can help you decipher your statements and billing terms. Call 800-342-3552 or visit http://www.floridapsc.com.


Vacation and travel programs, 1,977 complaints: This is your category if you sign up and pay to enroll in vacation-related programs and end up not getting all of the discounts and freebies as promised. Nobody needs to sign up for a travel program to find travel deals. For instance, reputable Websites like SeatGuru.com, Kayak.com and Traelocity.com can help you find bargains on airfare, hotels and more.

Whatever travel company you use, pay with credit card to make it easier to resolve disputes. And you have a legal right to cancel a contract if the travel club receives your written request before midnight on the third business day after you signed the contract. Always send such requests via certified mail or deliver in person.

Motor vehicle repairs, 1,902 complaints: Repair shops must be registered with the state consumer services department. Call 800-435-7352 to verify a shop’s registration and check complaint history. Repair bills cannot exceed a written estimate by more than $10 or 10 percent, with a maximum of $50, without your approval, as provided by Florida law.

Real estate sales and brokers, 1,627 complaints: Loan modification problems is a big culprit here. You should know state law does not allow mortgage loan modifiers to collect cash in advance of work. Also anyone doing modifications must be a mortgage broker licensed through the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. To check a license, call 800-848-3792 or visit http://www.flofr.com.


Motor vehicle sales, 1,492 complaints: Cars gone bad before their time is top complaint. Florida’s Lemon Law protects car buyers who end up with defective vehicles, but only if they were leased or purchased new. It’s important to run a vehicle history report, such as CarFax, before buying a used car. Depending on the price of the car, you may not want to just rely on a history report since they may contain errors. It is always good to ask a mechanic you trust to check out the car before putting money down. To report a rolled-back odometer or use a vehicle identification number to find a previous car owner call 850-617-2000.

Landlord and tenant disputes, 1,415 complaints: State law requires landlords to give tenants renting by the month 15 days notice before eviction, unless they have a signed lease waiving those rights. Avoid such waivers when you can. And don’t provide a deposit until you are absolutely sure you want to rent the property. And get in writing how your deposit will be used and how much you should expect to be returned.


Medical issues, 1,046 complaints: Unexpected or incorrect prescription drug costs and limited insurance coverage often lead to consumer complaints. Check your bills carefully for errors or duplicate charges. Contact your insurer as soon as possible should you find a problem. In the event the insurer wrongly refuses to remove incorrect charges or cover its share of the medical bill, call the state Subscriber Assistance Program at 888-419-3456.

Have a complaint of your own? Call the state consumer services department at 800-435-7352 or visit http://www.800helpfla.com.

Daniel Vasquez can be reached at dvasquez@SunSentinel.com, or 954-356-4219, or 561-243-6600, ext. 4219. To see more columns from Daniel Vasquez, go to SunSentinel.com/vasquez.

Check out Daniel Vasquez’s Consumer Talk blog for ways to spend your money wisely, use technology to make life easier and keep your family safe and healthy at SunSentinel.com/consumerblog.


Toyota could be on the hook for $200,000 over a $5,000 claim



Todd and Sally Herrington really like their 2006 Toyota Sienna  — even after they sued the giant automaker over a problem with the van’s acceleration.

A Rock County jury recently sided with the Janesville couple and awarded them $10,000 in damages after a four-day trial. Since they had offered to settle for just $5,000, they’ll get an extra $7,000 under the law, money they plan to use to try replacing the van’s transmission.

But because Toyota took such a seemingly small case all the way to trial, complete with experts, the company’s also on the hook for nearly $200,000 of the Herrington’s legal fees. That issue will be decided  later this year.

The couple’s attorney, Vince Megna of Milwaukee, called it one of the stranger cases he’s handled in his more than two decades representing car owners. He found it mind-boggling that a giant like Toyota would go to a jury over a case the couple would have settled for $5,000.

“They’d have been happy with a new transmission,” he said, which would have cost about $3,500.

A spokeswoman for Toyota in Torrance, CA issued the following statement:

 “Toyota went to trial in the Herrington matter because we stand behind the quality and reliability of our vehicles.  Specifically, in this case, both we and the dealership fully evaluated the Harringtons’ claims, including multiple test drives and extensive diagnostic analysis over a two and a half year period, and concluded that the vehicle was operating normally.  Because the matter is still pending, we cannot comment further at this time.”

According to Megna the van randomly hesitates during accelation from a stop or very slow speeds, making it dangerous to drive in traffic and through uncontrolled intersections. Megna said it is not the kind of sudden acceleration problem that dogged Toyota in much greater numbers the last couple years.

He said Toyota maintained there was no problem, but a jury found that the van was defective and that Toyota failed to repair it under warranty. They determined the difference in value between the van as warranted and with the defect was $10,000.

Though Megna is best known for cases brought under the state’s Lemon Law, which allows for a refund for defective cars, he said the Herrington’s was brought under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, because they had not sought dealer repairs of the defect within a year of buying it new in 2006. The federal law does not provide for a refund.

Fair Debt Attorney Sergei Lemberg Seconds Consumers Union Recommendations for Debt Collection Industry …

Consumer fair debt collection attorney Sergei Lemberg voiced his support for the debt collection industry reforms recommended by Consumers Union in its recent report, “Past Due: Why Debt Collection Practices and the Debt Buying Industry Need Reform Now.” According to Lemberg, “The debt collection industry needs to learn to play fair, collect debts fairly, and treat people with dignity and respect.”

Stamford, CT (PRWEB) February 4, 2011

Consumer fair debt collection attorney Sergei Lemberg voiced his support for the debt collection industry reforms recommended by Consumers Union in its recent report, “Past Due: Why Debt Collection Practices and the Debt Buying Industry Need Reform Now.” According to Lemberg, “The debt collection industry needs to learn to play fair, collect debts fairly, and treat people with dignity and respect.”

According to Lemberg, the Consumers Union report follows on the heels of related recommendations by the Federal Trade Commission, and of congressional attempts to amend the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. “While everyone has a slightly different prescription to fix the problem, there are several common themes,” he said. “They stem from the lack of information that debt buyers have about the debts they are trying collect, and then use the courts to obtain judgments against consumers who may not know they’re being sued. The current process leaves people’s lives in tatters, is an enormous burden on the taxpayer-funded court system, and is simply immoral.”

The Consumers Union recommendations include requiring debt sellers to provide debt buyers with basic debt validation information, which would also be available to the consumer and would be usable in any legal proceeding. Lemberg noted that the lack of debt validation standards is at the heart of the problem. “All too often, debt collectors go after the wrong person, misstate the amount owed, or fail to substantiate the debt before a judge,” he said. “The current situation is a recipe for disaster. If a debt buyer says John Doe owes money, and John Doe isn’t present to defend himself, the debt buyer can obtain a judgment and freeze John Doe’s bank account.”

Lemberg echoed another of the report’s recommendations, namely the need to increase the penalty for debt collection agencies that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. “The $1,000 penalty is peanuts; it hasn’t been adjusted since the law was enacted in 1978. Among debt collectors, it’s simply factored into the cost of doing business. Congress must make it more expensive for debt collectors to violate the law.”

Lemberg, who was targeted in 2010 by collection industry insider WebRecon LLC for being the “most active consumer attorney” of the year, said that while the political climate may not be ripe for a congressional overhaul of the FDCPA, recognition of the debt collection abuse is reaching critical mass. “Even if Congress isn’t willing to act, state Attorneys General and legislatures are beginning to step up,” he said. “Tightening the reins on debt collection agencies represents good governance on two fronts. It helps protect consumers against predatory debt collectors and helps reduce the costs associated with overwhelmed court systems.”

About Lemberg Associates, LLC

The attorneys at Lemberg Associates, LLC are experts in fair debt and lemon law, and practice in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. Sergei Lemberg can brief you about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, remedies available to consumers who are victims of debt collector harassment, and other relevant issues.

For more information, contact:

Sergei Lemberg

Lemberg Associates, LLC

slemberg(at)lemberglaw(dot)com

http://www.StopCollector.com

http://www.LembergLaw.com

203.653.2250 x5500

# # #

Sergei Lemberg
Lemberg Associates
203-653-2250 ext. 5500
Email Information

Top Florida consumer concerns – and how best to combat them – Sun

Florida consumer complaints were up slightly in 2010 compared to recent years, with the biggest gripes having to do with credit card companies and banks, phone service providers and, of course, telemarketers.

Last year the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received 40,611 written complaints from residents, up from from about 38,000 in 2009 and 37,227 in 2008. The department “successfully closed or resolved” 35,831 of those complaints, said agency spokesman Sterling Ivey.

But when it comes to protecting your wallet and rights as a consumer, statistics are not as important as knowing how to avoid being ripped off or mistreated when paying for a product or service – and where to turn when it happens.
No surprise that unwanted phone calls during dinner time or similar behavior from telemarketers account for the top category of Florida complaints. Telemarketers top the list most years.

Here are the top Florida consumer complaints of 2010 and what you should know:

Telemarketers, 8,599 complaints: Telemarketers calling consumers who signed up with the state’s Do Not Call list to avoid such calls typically accounts for the majority of complaints in this category. Some people don’t realize, however, that some solicitors are exempt, such as calls from political campaigns and charities. To protect yourself from the rest, call the consumer services department at 800-435-7352 or visit http://www.800helpfla.com. Expect to pay a $10 registration fee and annual $5 renewal fee.

Many other telemarketer complaints deal with issues of fraud, identity theft and misleading information. Never provide personal information over the phone unless you know exactly who you are dealing with. Don’t fall for pressure tactics and seek written information about guarantees, warranties or rebates. before you agree to pay for any product or service.

Credit and banking, 2,528 complaints: Unexpected or unfair charges related to credi card charges, bank statements and overdraft plans make this a list topper. Knowing your rights helps. For instance a recent federal requires banks to receive customer permission before enrollment in an overdraft plan, however the rule covers only ATM and debit cards.

Always ask your bank or credit card issuer about all fees related to your accounts and check your bank statements carefully for mistakes. If you find one, contact the company immediately. Waiting too long could mean you end up paying for charges you didn’t intend.


Communications, 2,248 complaints: Confusion about fees and taxes found on your home phone bill come into play here. To help, the Public Service Commission publishes a brochure that can help you decipher your statements and billing terms. Call 800-342-3552 or visit http://www.floridapsc.com.


Vacation and travel programs, 1,977 complaints: This is your category if you sign up and pay to enroll in vacation-related programs and end up not getting all of the discounts and freebies as promised. Nobody needs to sign up for a travel program to find travel deals. For instance, reputable Websites like SeatGuru.com, Kayak.com and Traelocity.com can help you find bargains on airfare, hotels and more.

Whatever travel company you use, pay with credit card to make it easier to resolve disputes. And you have a legal right to cancel a contract if the travel club receives your written request before midnight on the third business day after you signed the contract. Always send such requests via certified mail or deliver in person.

Motor vehicle repairs, 1,902 complaints: Repair shops must be registered with the state consumer services department. Call 800-435-7352 to verify a shop’s registration and check complaint history. Repair bills cannot exceed a written estimate by more than $10 or 10 percent, with a maximum of $50, without your approval, as provided by Florida law.

Real estate sales and brokers, 1,627 complaints: Loan modification problems is a big culprit here. You should know state law does not allow mortgage loan modifiers to collect cash in advance of work. Also anyone doing modifications must be a mortgage broker licensed through the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. To check a license, call 800-848-3792 or visit http://www.flofr.com.


Motor vehicle sales, 1,492 complaints: Cars gone bad before their time is top complaint. Florida’s Lemon Law protects car buyers who end up with defective vehicles, but only if they were leased or purchased new. It’s important to run a vehicle history report, such as CarFax, before buying a used car. Depending on the price of the car, you may not want to just rely on a history report since they may contain errors. It is always good to ask a mechanic you trust to check out the car before putting money down. To report a rolled-back odometer or use a vehicle identification number to find a previous car owner call 850-617-2000.

Landlord and tenant disputes, 1,415 complaints: State law requires landlords to give tenants renting by the month 15 days notice before eviction, unless they have a signed lease waiving those rights. Avoid such waivers when you can. And don’t provide a deposit until you are absolutely sure you want to rent the property. And get in writing how your deposit will be used and how much you should expect to be returned.


Medical issues, 1,046 complaints: Unexpected or incorrect prescription drug costs and limited insurance coverage often lead to consumer complaints. Check your bills carefully for errors or duplicate charges. Contact your insurer as soon as possible should you find a problem. In the event the insurer wrongly refuses to remove incorrect charges or cover its share of the medical bill, call the state Subscriber Assistance Program at 888-419-3456.

Have a complaint of your own? Call the state consumer services department at 800-435-7352 or visit http://www.800helpfla.com.

Daniel Vasquez can be reached at dvasquez@SunSentinel.com, or 954-356-4219, or 561-243-6600, ext. 4219. To see more columns from Daniel Vasquez, go to SunSentinel.com/vasquez.

Check out Daniel Vasquez’s Consumer Talk blog for ways to spend your money wisely, use technology to make life easier and keep your family safe and healthy at SunSentinel.com/consumerblog.


'Best local band' to play

Seven Years Past (7 p.m., Mr. Beery’s, Sarasota)

The winner of Creative Loafing’s 2010 Best of the Suncoast Readers Poll award for best local band, Seven Years Past has developed a solid name for itself as an energetic, in-your-face rock band with skillful musicianship and engaging crowd interaction. Indeed, front woman Lisa Larkin boasts an impressive set of pipes that can belt out vocals ranging from the most primal of rebel yells to the subtlest of heartfelt whimpers. Guitarist Mark Medeiros and bassist Bret Calltharp offer precision accompaniment with their masterful navigation of the fretboard, while drummer Brett Jones lays the foundation with heavy chops and rapid machine gun rolls. Better make it out to Mr. Beery’s early for this one, as the county entertainment ordinance forces the venue to cut off live music at 10 p.m.

FRIDAY 2.4

WSLR Night with Melissa Greener (The Blue Owl, Sarasota)

Sarasota’s purveyors of local community radio bliss, 96.5 WSLR is throwing a little concert at The Blue Owl featuring a highly sought- after artist. Detroit native and Austin resident Melissa Greener will head into town for a intimate showing of her acoustic flatpicking blues-tinged folk ditties. Her lyrics tend to create pictures in the mind, transporting listeners back to their childhood by summoning the sensations of young love and the search for identity. With vocal inflections running the gamut of colors, her music is known for inciting a broad range of emotions. Sarasota songwriter Completely From Mountains will open the show with his ethereal, reverb-laden vocals and softly strummed indie riffs. Tickets: $10 advance/$12 door

SATURDAY 2.5

Whole Wheat Bread, Ammo Nation, Lemon Law (9 p.m., Pastimes Pub, Sarasota)

Jacksonville-based punk outfit Whole Wheat Bread has made several appearances at Pastimes over the past few years and they’ll be offering up another slice of their raucous originals and “crunk classics gone punk.” The boys have seen quite an uptick in notoriety since the release of their 2006 EP “Punk Life,” which was produced by Travis Huff (Fall Out Boy, Pharcyde) and included three “crunk rock” covers of popular rap songs. They must have punked them out just right, as Lil Jon himself contacted the group just days after they had posted their version of his hit “I Don’t Give a F***.” They went on to work with the rapper collaborating on a number of sessions, and released their second album, “Hearts of Hoodlums,” in 2009. Joining them in this punk rock trifecta will be Ocala’s Ammo Nation and Punta Gorda’s Lemon Law.

Fancy Rat, Clarke Nordhauser, The Free Jacks (10 p.m., Growler’s Pub, Sarasota)

Newly established North Trail hotspot Growler’s must not have gotten enough of their indie kicks last weekend when they hosted the after party for ZIGZAG zine’s 5th issue release party. But they should be able to get their happy dance fill over the course of this Saturday’s lineup. Fancy Rat has been blowing up within local circles these days as one of the most fun acts you can catch if you’re looking to get goofy, which is basically what their live shows are all about. A mixture of speedy head-bobbing acoustic guitar riffs and silly lyrics, courtesy of front man Brian Yoder, is accentuated by the beat-box stylings of Dan Demerin and the intriguingly placed electric licks of guitarist Toby Norton. Sadly, the band has suffered from sudden band member departures over the past few months, and with the upcoming leave of bassist Adam Marret, it doesn’t look like things are getting any easier for them.