Credit card payment protection plans: The class action lawsuits filed by Carey Danis & Lowe refer to claims that a number of credit card companies, through the deliberately concealed sale of their debt management plans to card holders, are manipulating their client base through unfair and fraudulent business practices. The credit card companies in question have developed debt suspension and debt cancellation plans, into which they automatically enroll card holders in said debt management plans without the card holder’s knowledge. The debt management plans devised by these credit card companies result in card members paying fees without the receipt of benefits supposedly extant in the credit card companies’ payment protection plan.
Claims that AT&T is wrongfully charging its wireless customers for unauthorized third party products and services by placing them on their cell phone bills. The unauthorized charges on a customer’s wireless bill can be found by telephone under “Mobile Purchases and Downloads” under one or more cell phone numbers on a particular bill. The unauthorized charges that appear on the bills are from, among others, JAWA/Eye Level Holdings, LLC, f/k/a Cylon, Cellfish Media, Predicto Mobile, Celebrity Squares LLC, TVTXtr LLC, GuessSMS LLC, Too Lazy, 3C Interactive, Jamster.com, Wise Media (HoroscopeGenie).
Carey, Danis & Lowe is investigating claims that AT&T is wrongfully charging its landline customers for unauthorized third party products and services by placing them on their telephone bill. Customers’ AT&T bills reflect unauthorized charges by one or more of the following entities: OAN Services, Enhanced Billing Services Group (ESBI), HBS, Bill2Phone, Enabill, USBI, ZPDI, and/or BSG Clearing.
Consumer protection laws are federal and state statutes governing sales and credit practices involving consumer goods. Such statutes prohibit and regulate deceptive or unconscionable advertising and sales practices, product quality, credit financing and reporting, debt collection, leases, and other aspects of consumer transactions.
The goal of consumer protection laws is to place consumers, who are average citizens engaging in business deals such as buying goods or borrowing money, on an even par with companies or citizens who regularly engage in business. Historically, consumer transactions—purchases of goods or services for personal, family, or household use—were presumed fair because it was assumed that buyers and sellers bargained from equal positions. Starting in the 1960s, legislatures began to respond to complaints by consumer advocates that consumers were inherently disadvantaged, particularly when bargaining with large corporations and industries. Several types of agencies and statutes, both state and federal, now work to protect consumers.
False Advertising is often the cause of consumer complaints. At common law, a consumer had the right to bring an action against a false advertiser for Fraud, upon proving that the advertiser made false representations about the product, that these representations were made with the advertiser’s knowledge of or negligent failure to discover the falsehoods, and that the consumer relied on the false advertisement and was harmed as a result
Consumer credit—home mortgages, student financial aid, and credit cards, for example—is an area fraught with complicated finance terms, and Congress has designed laws requiring lenders to fully disclose and explain those terms to potential borrowers.
The Consumer Protection Act was amended in 1996 to include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Public Law 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 ). Congress passed the law to address the abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices used by many debt collectors. Personal, family, and household debts are covered under the act.
Warranties are promises by a manufacturer, made to the consumer purchasing the manufacturer’s product, that the product will serve the purpose for which it was designed. The Uniform Commercial Code is a law, adopted in some form in all states, that regulates sales transactions and specifically the three most common types of consumer warranties: express, merchantability, and fitness.
Laws protecting consumers vary in the remedies they provide to consumers for violations. Many federal laws merely provide for public agencies to enforce consumer regulations by investigating and resolving consumer complaints. For example, in the case of a false advertisement, a common remedy is the FTC-ordered removal of the offensive advertisements from the media. In other circumstances, consumers may be entitled to money damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees; these remedies can be effective in a case involving a breach of warranty.
Since its inception, CD&L attorneys have represented plaintiffs nationwide in a variety of high profile complex consumer class actions. CD&L attorneys have taken the leading role in many of the largest state and federal consumer fraud cases throughout the United States. These cases related to deceptive sales practice in virtually every industry in the United States. Examples of current and prior cases include:
Esurance Phantom Coverage Litigation
CD&L is prosecuting an action on behalf of certain Esurance policy holders in the Southern District of Illinois. The complaint alleges that Esurance sold policies of insurance to consumers that could not be triggered under any circumstances.
Kenmore Front-Loading Washing Machine Litigation
CD&L was appointed co-lead counsel in an action against Sears alleging that its Kenmore Elite front loading washing machines suffered from control board defects and accumulated mold and mildew as a result of a systematic defect in their design. This case remains pending in the Northern District of Illinois.
Health Insurance Co-Pay Litigation
CD&L was Lead Counsel in multiple consumer class action lawsuits against health insurance companies’ method for calculating co-payments on health insurance policies. In particular, these cases alleged that health insurance companies entered into secret discounting relationships with healthcare providers which were not passed on to the insureds. As Lead Counsel, CD&L achieved tens of millions of dollars in relief on behalf of their clients. More importantly, CD&L was instrumental in changing the method in which health insurance companies calculate co-payments and lifetime maximums on behalf of its subscribers.
In re: Telephone/Inside Wire Maintenance Litigation
CD&L served as Co-Lead counsel in several class action suits filed in state and federal courts alleging violations of consumer protection laws in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas by Southwestern Bell relating to deceptive billing practices with respect to an optional insurance products. This litigation resulted in a $300 million settlement for over 10 million class members. CD&L handled the dissemination of notice and administration of over 10 million claims in this monumental case.
Cable Television Late Fees Litigation
CD&L served as Lead Counsel in dozens of suits against cable/television companies throughout the United States. In these cases, it was alleged that cable rate fees were an illegal liquidated damage that violated both state and federal consumer protection laws. Charter Cable, Cox Communications and Marcus Cable are just a few of the dozens of defendants that CD&L litigated against in these cases. Ultimately, CD&L negotiated over $200 million in refunds to cable customers throughout the United States in the late 1990s. The settlements changed the way these cable companies calculate late fees.
Truck Bed Liner Burn Risk Litigation
CD&L was Lead Counsel in a consumer class action alleging that manufacturers of truck bed liners failed to warn of increased risk of severe burn injuries associated with their products. CD&L alleged that because the bed liners were not properly grounded, a static electric charge could build up through the plastic of the bed liner, creating the potential for explosion when flammable items were hauled in truck beds containing defendants’ bed liners. A settlement was reached with defendants mandating warnings of explosion and burn injury be added to the dangerous products.
Maytag Neptune Series Washer Litigation
CD&L was selected amongst hundreds of lawyers to serve as Lead Counsel in a national class action suit that was litigated in St. Clair County, Illinois Circuit Court. Kenneth Mink, et al., v. Maytag Corporation, 03-L-47. In this case, hundreds of thousands of consumers filed cases and claims alleging that the Maytag Neptune Series front-loader washer was defective and caused problems relating to mold. After years of litigation, CD&L negotiated a settlement with Maytag resulting in a massive recall of this defective product. Additionally, $30 million in economic relief was set aside to pay economic damages relating to this defective washer.
In re: MCI Non-Subscriber Litigation
MDL No. 1275. CD&L was selected to serve as Co-Lead Counsel in this Multi-District litigation consolidated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois alleging that MCI charged illegal long distance rates with respect to contracted customers. Ultimately, the case was settled for an amount in excess of $90 million. This landmark settlement is one of the largest in telecommunications history.
SmithKline Billing Fraud Litigation
MDL No. 1210. CD&L served as Co-Lead Counsel in a class action against SmithKline Clinical Beecham Laboratories alleging billing fraud and deceptive sales practices. The case was settled for an amount in excess of $200 million. CD&L represented all Non-ERISA claims through a case filed in Madison County, Illinois. Smithkline settled a national class action in Madison County, Illinois on behalf of all non-ERISA subscribers in 1999.
Bank Fee Litigation
CD&L served as Co-Lead Counsel in a highly publicized case that challenged the manner in which one of the country’s largest banks processes checks so as to increase its fee revenues. In January 1999, the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, Illinois certified a nationwide class of individuals adversely affected by the practice. CD&L ultimately settled the bank fee litigation cases.
In re: Bank of America Credit Protection Marketing & Sales Practices Litigation
MDL No. 2269. CD&L was selected to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in this Multi-District litigation involving Bank of America’s marketing and sales practices relating to its debt suspension/debt cancellation product Credit Protection. This case is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
*Carey Danis & Lowe has settled many additional cases for their clients. Unfortunately, this information cannot be made public due to confidentiality clauses and the sensitive nature of personal cases. We work for our clients. Privacy, Confidentiality, and Satisfaction is our goal.
*Carey Danis & Lowe class action litigation has included, but is not limited to: Rock Band second guitar complaint; HMO Co-Pay complaint; Discover Card complaint; Honda Ridgeline leak; Social Security payment garnishment complaint; Kodak Gallery class action; CCC Valuescope appraisal scam; CareerBuilder.com resume upgrade complaint; Credit card payment protection plan class actions.