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SFMS Law Blog

German automakers under siege in U.S. courts, Part 2

The "Circle of Five" is a catchy sounding string of words, something that might aptly go with an intrigue-driven movie thriller or spy novel.

The "Circle of Doom" seems just as appropriate a title for similar purposes, though, and in fact would command utility for a group of actors outside the entertainment industry who are presently dealing with a quite dramatic reality themselves.

Class-action status sought for suits filed against carmakers

Obviously, vehicle manufacturers want to be preoccupied with happy thoughts linked to massive product sales across the country.

For a consortium of German automakers, preoccupation is definitely on the agenda, but what it relates to coast to coast is decidedly on something other than a salutary bottom line and millions of ecstatic American consumers.

What's the number one consumer complaint in the U.S.?

While most of us would like to imagine that the goods or services we purchase will be hassle-free, we know from firsthand experience that this is not always the reality. Indeed, products don't always function as advertised, service agreements aren't always honored and items received aren't always the items ordered.

Even though these types issues are often resolved amicably, many times they do not end quite so well. In fact, consumers might be so dissatisfied with their experience that they are prompted to file a complaint with a government entity. 

Oh, no, not again: Wells Fargo customers fleeced by overcharging

The past year-plus has been anything but kind to bank giant Wells Fargo, at least regarding its perception among the general public and how it has been faring from a public relations standpoint.

Many of our readers are obviously already aware of the bank's colossal-sized woes from last year related to a scam pursuant to which reportedly "as many as 2 million unauthorized checking and credit card accounts" were opened for unwitting bank customers who paid charges for their upkeep. Thousands of bank employees were ultimately fired for their participation in setting up those accounts, and Wells Fargo was fined heavily by criminal and civil regulators for its fraudulent conduct in the matter.

New rule announced in response to consumer fraud, but will it last?

Class-action lawsuits have "been turned upside down" by the arrival of a long-awaited federal bill that many proponents hope will give little-guy plaintiffs more power and meaningful victories against large and obviously better-heeled business interests.

The rule was rolled out with some fanfare early last week by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It responds to years of reported consumer emasculation in efforts by aggrieved customers to hold large financial firm accountable for wrongdoing in contractual matters.

For hospital, this fraud scheme quite literally didn't pay

What might seem to be a good idea in the minds of business principals focused obsessively on profit can sometimes look a bit less salutary when viewed from the perspective of passed time.

That has surely been the case for the Pacific Alliance Medical Center and an affiliated company that have been tasked to pay an eye-opening $42 million to federal and state officials pursuant to a just-concluded settlement.

Class: B of A Denied HAMP Modifications for Wronged Homeowners

A federal consumer fraud class action was recently filed against Bank of America, accusing the bank of fraud and unfair business practices. The class claims that, far from working to help desperate homeowners through the HAMP mortgage modification program, the banking giant worked to extract fees from them while scheming to take their homes anyway.

Even more troubling, many of the homeowners originally obtained their mortgages through Countrywide, which Bank of America bought when the smaller lender's risky mortgages were going bad. It was later discovered that Countrywide had engaged in predatory lending practices, often against minorities and other vulnerable borrowers.