Consumer Law Chicago
Consumer law is a general area of law aimed to protect the public from unfair and predatory business practices. Our office handles a wide range of consumer claims to help protect individuals from unfair trade, unethical ways of operating businesses, and the spread of inaccurate information. If you have been subject to any of these actions, please contact us. Individually or through a class-action lawsuit, we may be able to help you obtain a substantial recovery.
Automated Calls to Cell Phones (also known as robocalls): Many autodialed or prerecorded calls to a cell phone are not only aggravating but may also violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If you believe you have received such calls, we may be able to help you recover between $500 and $1,500 per call.
ATM: Banks must post the proper notice on the outside of the ATM if charges will be imposed, in addition to a notice appearing on the screen. Damages range from $100-$1000 per violation.
Biometric Information: Under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), any person or business scanning or otherwise obtaining your biometric information (such as fingerprints, face scans, etc.) must first obtain your written authorization, as well as institute a data destruction policy so that your information does not become compromised. Damages range from $1000-$5000 per violation.
Credit and Debit Card Receipts: Electronically generated credit/debit card receipts which show more than the last five digits of the card number or the expiration date violate the law and could entitle you to recovery.
Collection Letters and Practices: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives consumers certain rights and prohibits certain methods of attempting to collect debts. You may be entitled to recover up to $1000 plus actual damages. The most common violations include the following:
▪ Contacting family members, neighbors and employers
▪ Making threatening, false or abusive comments
▪ Notices of privacy rights/information practices that state that your information can be disclosed to subprime lenders and other third parties for marketing purposes
▪ Adding unauthorized collection charges
▪ Threatening to report a debtor to the Internal Revenue Service
▪ Threatening criminal prosecution (mainly on dishonored checks)
▪ Initial demand letters which insist on payment within less than 30 days or don’t clearly state the exact amount of the debt or suggest that the debt is increasing and that payment of some unspecified increased amount is required
▪ Sending large numbers of letters purporting to come from attorneys or collection agencies when that is not the case
▪ Demands for attorney’s fees when contracts provide for fees only if the suit is filed
▪ Payday and other high-interest loans made by lenders not licensed in Illinois
Credit Reporting Problems: If TransUnion, Experian, Equifax, CSC, Credigy or Telecheck has refused to remove inaccurate information from your credit report, including information that is the result of identity theft, commingling of files, inaccurate reports by creditors, retention of obsolete information, etc., we may be able to help.
Mortgages: If a mortgage company forced placed insurance on you during the first year of a loan when the HUD-1 shows that insurance was purchased or presented at the closing, you could be entitled to a recovery. Other related violations include:
▪ Escrow issues, such as failing to pay your taxes
▪ Paying a higher private mortgage insurance premium than initially quoted
▪ You were charged recording fees in excess of the amounts disbursed to the Recorder, or overnight delivery fees of $50 or more
▪ You obtained a loan modification and the lender is refusing to honor it or making mistakes with your payment or credit reporting.
Credit Cards: Attempting to transfer an account to a relative upon death or bankruptcy of the debtor, without consent of that relative, as well as credit reporting problems.
Medical Bills: A medical bill that should have been paid by workers’ compensation is sent to collections or reported on your credit.
Consumer Law FAQs
We often get questions regarding consumer law and what it entails. Browse the following FAQ section and feel free to reach out to us if your question was not answered.
Q: What does consumer law cover?
A: Consumer law ensures that there is a safety net for those harmed by business practices across multiple industries. It is important to note that proving claims against businesses can often be tedious, time-consuming and stressful, so it is best to rely on our consumer attorneys for assistance.
Q: What if the problem I experienced was unintentional?
A: This will depend on the law at issue. Generally, it is possible to still hold companies accountable even if they were not aware of the problem that you experienced. We can help you determine whether or not you have a case.
Q: Can I sue even if I did not actually make a purchase?
A: A common issue consumers run into is that they did not actually make a purchase of a product or service, yet they still incurred damages as a result of the company’s unlawful business practice. For example, if a store advertises that they are running a special on an item but it does not have that item or a replacement, it is possible that the consumer has a basis to sue depending on the state. In this case, the consumer would have to prove that the missing item caused damages.
Q: What do I do if I have been the victim of a scam?
A: In the case that you have been a victim of a scam, make sure to contact your state and/or federal consumer protection agency as soon as possible to report it. Meanwhile, you should also contact our team so that we can determine the best way to move forward.
Q: Will I get my money back after a scam?
A: If your scam involves losing money via your credit or debit card, there is a chance you could get your money back when you contest the charges directly with your bank. Additionally, depending on whether the company violated any other state or federal laws, you may be entitled to additional damages.
For more information regarding consumer law and if you believe that you may have been subject to any of the above, contact Caffarelli & Associates for a free consultation!