CONSUMER LAW

Jay Speer

T: (804) 782-9430 ext. 109 | F: (804) 649-0974 | E: [email protected]

 

Overview

A fair and thriving marketplace demands that consumer’s rights be respected and protected.  With an emphasis on representing consumers in the legislature and in the courts, VPLC is focused on those consumer issues that most impact low-income Virginians.

 

Main Issues

Fair Lending – Predatory loans and lending practices, Consumer purchase transactions, and contracts for goods or services. Includes credit reporting and credit access.

Debt Collection – Harassment and dissemination of personal information around Debt Collectors, Debt Buyers, and companies collecting on their own debts.

Student Loans – Student loan servicing issues

 

Current Issue Advocacy

Consumer Finance Act Changes
Closing the Line of Credit Loophole
Rights around Freezing your Credit
Student Loan Servicing
Reinstating Suspended Driver’s Licenses for lack of payment on non-driving related issues

We track the progress of consumer-related legislation through Congress, the General Assembly, and at the local and administrative level. We consult with case handlers about the possible impact of proposed legislation and needed changes to law, providing input to committees/commissions, individual legislators, and other advocacy groups on how a particular bill may affect our low-income clients. Our staff issues a Legislative Agenda on expected legislative issues ahead of each session, and the outcome of the legislative session every year in its legislative reviews.

 

Education, Outreach and Other Resources

Our goal is to get precise and pertinent civil legal issue information to those who need it most. We conduct regular training workshops focused on consumer-related issues for attorneys that are new to the legal aid network, and for attorneys in private law firms who do pro bono work for legal aid clients. VPLC also conducts an annual conference for legal aid attorneys and others who serve our clients.

We also help those dealing with consumer issues through outreach, education and training. We partner with credit unions and credit counseling agencies to provide information and training to diverse groups including low-income men and women, the elderly, and youth in foster care. We train them on financial literacy and developing strong financial practices such as learning how to save and to avoid predatory loans.

 

Consumer Help Resources:

Predatory Loan Help Hotline: 866-830-4501 – Get information and advice and questions answered around predatory loan issues, including payday, car title, internet and open-end line of credit loans

Blue Ridge Legal Services presentation on Debtor’s Rights

Federal Trade Commission – For help with Identity Theft issues and Consumer Scams,and unwanted solicitations. Complaints can be filed.

Consumer Financial Protecton Bureau – Find consumer information and tips around financial products and File complaints against financial institutions treating consumers unfairly or illegally. This can include banks, credit unions, consumer lenders, payday and car title loans, loans over the internet, student loan servicers and debt collectors.

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