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Class Actions: The Whos, Whens and Whys

Friday, April 06, 2018

There are few tools that an individual has to protect themselves against unfair practices and treatments of Employers or Companies, one of the most effective means being class actions. We wanted to take a moment to express when, why and by whom a class action suit gets filed.

Class actions often entitle a person harmed either physically or emotionally by a corporation to receive a monetary settlement for their troubling experience. Someone without the financial security themselves to justify the time and money spent in obtaining legal representation, filing a suit or the court costs associated with such, greatly benefits by aligning with others who have been similarly wronged. 

If a customer purchases a product based on advertising that is either misleading or an outright lie, the individual often sees little benefit in the expense of the resources necessary to achieve compensation for this infraction. Though with the thousands of other dissatisfied consumers made to believe untruths about the product, then such a lawsuit could force the company to pay back any profits resulting from the campaign in question, as well as retracting the invalid marketing. 

Another instance of a suit-worthy offense would be an employer who failed to provide safe working conditions, or who engaged in unequal payment on basis of discrimination. Again, a court could find the company exhibiting the questionable behaviors subsequently penalized and the affected parties granted certain concessions. 

If you feel that an employer or company has disregarded your rights, we invite you to read more! Remember: You have rights, and your rights are important. 



4 Examples of False Advertising

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Are you the victim of false advertising practices? False advertising is when a company makes claims about a product that is untrue. You probably need a consumer rights attorney. Here are a few different kinds of false advertising.

Misleading Claims

Advertisements that give misleading claims about a product are one example of false advertising. This includes exaggerated claims that are not true, such as claims about the effectiveness of a weight loss supplement. Sometimes, advertisers will make exaggerated claims and then hide disclaimers in the small print at the bottom or in the terms and conditions that nobody reads.

Failure to Disclose

This is similar to misleading claims. If there are certain aspects of a product that might cause a consumer not to buy it, the advertiser should disclose them. The same goes for any limitations the product has.

Bait and Switch

Bait and switch scams are when an advertisement promises one thing, but another thing is actually offered. For example, a car dealership might promise discount rates, but when you get there, you're told that no discount cars are available and you are pressured to buy an expensive car. The same goes for airlines that promise low fees and then hit you with extra expenses.

Trial Scams

A trial scam offers you a free trial of a product or service for a certain period of time, only to charge your credit card with undisclosed fees. A similar scam would be an offer to try something out for just $1, only to charge your credit card for additional add-on products. These extra fees may be charged right away, or they may be in the form of a renewing subscription fee after 30 days.

If you've been the victim of false advertising, contact us today for legal help!



Consumer Rights: A New Tenants' Rights Law Showcases California's Commitment to Its Consumers

Thursday, July 13, 2017

California continues to shine as a model of consumer protection, especially in terms of rules targeting the landlord-tenant relationship. This article focuses on a specific aspect of consumer rights, the rights of California tenants, following a new law effective January 1, 2017.

Assembly Bill 551, entitled "Rental property: bed bugs", clarifies the landlord's ongoing duty to provide a building fit for human occupation. The law now specifically prohibits a landlord from showing, renting, or leasing a vacant unit when the landlord is aware of a bed bug infestation adversely impacting that unit.

In addition, the new law places a duty on California landlords to provide a certain bed-bug related notice to tenants. As of July 1, 2017, the landlord must deliver the notice to the prospective tenant before creating the new lease. As of January 1, 2018, the landlord must provide the same notice to all tenants. The law details the language mandated with respect to the notice. In essence, that notice must include each of the following:

  • a detailed description of bed bugs, to better enable the tenant to identify such pests;
  • a detailed overview of the life cycle and reproduction habits of bed bugs; and,
  • details regarding the common signs and symptoms of a possible bed bug infestation, including what to look for on the linen and the appearance/effects of bed bug bites.

As a tenant, realize the landlord's bed-bug duties activate only following awareness of a possible infestation. Therefore, if you witness such an infestation, you must alert the landlord. "Paper trails" —notes written either during or soon after transactions— minimize confusion as regards who said what to whom when. The wise tenant not only promptly notifies the landlord, but also keeps all related notes in a single receptacle, such as a notebook. Those notes will likely prove quite valuable if your landlord ignores your alert.

Contact us if you confront a dilemma with your landlord. Our attorneys stand ready to assist in protecting your rights.



Did Bose Violate Consumer Rights by Collecting Listening Habits?

Thursday, June 01, 2017

By some measures, Bose Corp's wireless headphones are the apex of personal speaker technology. They block ambient noise while providing rich and robust sound that brings out the best in any music that a listener might select. One of Bose's customers, however, believes that the company is using technology for more nefarious purposes, namely, collecting and selling information about user's listening habits. A lawsuit that was recently filed in a Chicago federal court seeks an injunction against Bose to protect the consumer rights and privacy of individuals who do not want data on their listening habits to be sold to third parties.

This consumer rights and privacy lawsuit is one of many in a trend of legal actions against companies that allegedly collect and sell data about how their customers use their products without warning those customers about the data collection or giving them an opportunity to opt out of the program. Consumer usage data and related information are gold mine for marketing and advertising companies, but certain federal and state laws limit how and when that data can be collected, as well as what rights consumers have in removing themselves from any data collection programs. Mobile technology and the proliferation of smartphones has increased both the ease with which that data can be collected and the temptations to collect and use increasing amounts of that data. Consumers who value their privacy are pushing back against these efforts.

Although privacy is not a specific guarantee of the United States Constitution, a string of Supreme Court decisions that date back more than fifty years have long recognized that individuals have a right to privacy and an expectation that commercial interests will not violate that right. The attorneys at the Spencer Law Firm respect every consumer's right to privacy and work hard to maintain that right in the face of corporations that aim to use personal information for their own financial benefit. If you believe that your consumer rights and your privacy have been violated by improper or unauthorized collection of your personal habits, please contact us for more information on how you can recover your own sense of privacy.




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