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On Friday, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) introduced the End Double Taxation of Successful Consumer Claims Act, H.R. 4457, which would amend the tax code to create an above-the-line deduction for legal fees in consumer cases, ensuring that consumers will not be required to pay income tax for funds they never receive.

For example, in 2020, Mr. B, a Nevada consumer, received a tax surprise after settling a claim against a credit card company. According to an IRS-1099 form issued by the company, Mr. …


by Christine Hines

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A new Oregon law just sent a feel-good message: Legal work performed free of charge for low-income consumers is as crucial as legal representation of paying clients. The new law gives access to justice a boost by requiring favorable treatment and consideration of pro bono and legal aid work in cases where reimbursed attorneys’ fees are awarded.

“Oregon consumers who need but can’t afford legal representation to resolve consumer disputes are now in a better position to get it,” said Young Walgenkim, an Oregon consumer attorney.

A disturbing trend arose for advocates representing low-income consumers in pro…


By Sophia Huang

For years now, debt collection has been one of the most complained about issues at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. Consumers report experiencing threats, harassment, invasions of privacy, receiving misleading communications, being sued over debts they do not owe, and much more. Now, with household debt rising to new highs during the ongoing pandemic and the debt collection industry remaining as active and aggressive as ever, the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act, H.R. 2547 could be a welcome source of relief for servicemembers, student loan borrowers, and consumers with medical debt.

Passed…


By: Christine Hines, NACA and Paul Bland, Public Justice

Image by b0red from Pixabay

Fee-shifting provisions in statutes serve to make so many legal actions on behalf of wronged consumers possible, but a serious issue with America’s tax laws is critically undermining them. A critical feature of many state and federal consumer protection laws, fee shifting laws provide that if a consumer prevails in a case against a corporation — the consumer successfully proves that the corporation violated a consumer protection law, and they win a recovery under the law — that the corporation has to pay the consumer’s attorneys’ fees.

The fee shifting laws…


The National Association of Consumer Advocates Releases Letter Signed by Its State Leaders Urging Congress to Rescind OCC Lending Rule

For immediate release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Congress should immediately pass a resolution to rescind a “sweeping and extreme regulation” issued last year by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), 43 state leaders of the National Association of Consumer Advocates said today. The rule allows non-bank entities outside the OCC’s authority to evade state interest-rate lending limits. (Letter to U.S. House and letter to U.S. Senate).

“This rule will hurt borrowers in our states,” NACA’s leaders…


For-profit debt settlement companies often make big promises to consumers that they can’t keep. They target consumers in financial trouble with promises to negotiate with their creditors to reduce or even erase debts, encouraging consumers to stop paying their creditors and start paying the debt settlement company instead. But oftentimes, consumers are left worse off after signing up for “debt settlement” than before, with possibly even more debt and lawsuits from debt collectors.

In 2017, Dean Schreiber turned to Bedrock, a debt settlement services company, for help managing his debts. Mr. Schreiber received a welcome guide brochure from Bedrock which…


The Texas winter storm in February and the escalating energy prices that followed have drawn scrutiny to the promises of the deregulated energy markets in Texas and 16 other states. In a deregulated energy market, consumers purchase power from suppliers while their local utility delivers the electricity. Free market proponents argued that energy deregulation and more competition would lead to lower electricity rates for consumers.

Researchers have shown the opposite to be true, that deregulation has not led to lower rates, but reportedly has led to aggressive and deceptive sales tactics to get consumers to switch from their local utility…


Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced the End Double Taxation of Successful Consumer Claims Act, which would amend the tax code so that individuals who win consumer cases are no longer expected to pay income tax on funds, specifically reimbursed legal expenses, that they do not receive. The proposal is similar to a previous 2004 amendment to the tax code that protects victims of discrimination.

“Sen. Cortez Masto recognizes that there is a barrier to justice under our current tax system for wronged consumers who seek redress for their harms,” said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association…


Natural and man-made disasters — a deadly hurricane, a sudden winter storm, a destructive tornado, and a ruinous oil spill — upend people’s lives. Families and communities often need help coping in the aftermath.

Below are some pointers and consumer resources for the days and weeks following a disaster:

•Make use of federal and state resources — The U.S. President may declare a major disaster as President Biden did in Texas, unlocking emergency aid. This may include “grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners…

NACA

National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) is a nonprofit association of attorneys and advocates committed to representing customers’ interests.

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