Consumer Action Handbook and National Consumer Protection Week

It's National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 6-12.  Get a free copy, or download a pdf version, of the 2011 edition of the Consumer Action Handbook (shipping is free too). This is the bible of every consumer office in the country because it lists contacts for state and federal consumer agencies, corporate consumer affairs departments, and more. Order your 2011 book today.

Collected research

I get to give all sorts of advice out here in Frederick, and usually have to do a bit of research to confirm what I think I remember about some of the issues presented. Here's some research on some of these topics, just so we all don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Minors and contracts:
We were horrified, in our office, by the result in Schmidt v. Prince George's Hospital, 366 Md. 535, 784 A.2d 1112 (2001). The holding in that case was that minors can be held liable for "necessaries" contracted for on their behalf.

Lopez v. Washington Mutual Bank

FYI.  New 9th Circuit Case holding bank is prohibited under 42 U.S.C. § 407(a) from taking directly deposited Social Security and SSI benefits to cover overdrafts and overdraft fees.  Broad language used in opinion - concludes that consent necessary to redirect funds must be "knowing, affirmative and unequivocal."   I wonder if this reasoning could also be used to argue banks can't let other creditors attach the accounts without affirmative consent??..... The case is Lopez v. Washington Mutual Bank, No.

Hospital Debt Collection information

A memo that Louise Carwell circulated last year on the new law regulating hospital debt collections. Another bill which will add additional protections for consumers faced with hospital bill collections looks like it is going to pass during this legislative session.

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