Never call a lawyer without a pen and paper in front of you. During at least 90% of the calls I receive from people looking for a lawyer, I tell them something they need to write down. These days, it is often the name of a lawyer who can actually help them, since I no longer take consumer cases; formerly it was a list of documents I needed, directions to my office, or things I needed them to do before I could consider taking their case.
There are few things more frustrating than waiting while the person on the other end of the phone apologizes for not having a pen and paper and fumbles around in their purse, asks a waiter for them, or, worst of all, asks me to call them back later in the day. All these happen to me, with regularity, despite the fact that most of the time I am only trying to give a referral to another lawyer.
So when you call a lawyer, be prepared. This is especially true if you are going to ask the lawyer to represent you on contingency, because lawyers who do contingent-fee work want to know that they can rely on their clients. Whether you have a pen and paper handy won’t make up their mind, but it can’t hurt, and it might help.
The revolution will not be televised, but if you have a cable subscription, you can log in to WatchRevolutions.com and use their authenticator to watch the revolution. Just provide your username and password, and you will have access to the revolution live, plus alternate angles, commentary, and the ability to share your login with up two more IP addresses.
Read THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED. at McSweeney’s.
PayPal is the latest to join a growing list of companies (including eBay) who want to keep consumers out of courts and class actions. You can opt out of mandatory binding arbitration, at least, but you’ll be stuck with the class action ban either way. Opting out is not easy. Here’s what you have to do:
You can choose to reject this Agreement to Arbitrate (“opt out”) by mailing us a written opt-out notice (“Opt-Out Notice”). For new PayPal users, the Opt-Out Notice must be postmarked no later than 30 Days after the date you accept the User Agreement for the first time. If you are already a current PayPal user and previously accepted the User Agreement prior to the introduction of this Agreement to Arbitrate, the Opt-Out Notice must be postmarked no later than December 1, 2012. You must mail the Opt-Out Notice to PayPal, Inc., Attn: Litigation Department, 2211 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95131.
It won’t work if you know it’s a placebo, of course. Would you be upset if you found out you paid $100 per pill for a placebo, even if it worked? Would you expect a refund once it worked?
Should doctors prescribe placebos?
Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made the following announcement:
When we build our own software or contract with a third party to build it for us, we will share the code with the public at no charge. Exceptions will be made when source code exposes sensitive details that would put the Bureau at risk for security breaches; but we believe that, in general, hiding source code does not make the software safer.
Okay, one last post on customer service by Twitter, and then I’m done. For today, at least. It turns out that while a conspicuous minority of companies are using Twitter to enhance the customer service experience, most remain completely clueless.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission announces consumer product recalls frequently, and staying on top of them can be difficult, if not impossible. To make it a bit easier, we’ve added the CPSC’s consumer product recalls feed to Caveat Emptor. You can find it at caveatemptorblog.com/recalls, or just click the link on the menu bar up above.
If you would rather get notified of recalls by email, you can sign up for email updates from the CPSC.
Getting a debt collector to “cease and desist” is easy, thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you are getting calls or letters regarding a consumer debt (credit card, medical debt, rent, etc.), and you want them to stop, all you have to do is send a letter to the debt collector who is contacting you. This is all the letter needs to say:
Stop contacting me.
Just make sure you include your name, address, and phone number so the debt collector knows who to stop contacting.
If the calls or letters continue after you send this letter, the debt collector may be liable to you for $1,000, plus actual damages, costs of litigation, and attorney fees. If that happens, contact a consumer lawyer right away.
In a somewhat surprising role reversal, the state of Illinois was awarded a $23.7 million dollar judgment against the law firm of Friedman & Wexler and two attorneys from the firm. The state had previously used the law firm to collect debts on behalf of the state.
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