February 27, 2007

Indiana Lemon Law Seminar Update

I attended the Indiana Lemon Law continuing legal education seminar last week. The seminar was put on by two attorneys of the Law Offices of Connie J. Postelli, Connie Postelli and Rebecca Letourneaux, and a mediator Ms. Postelli uses a lot named Paul Petticrew. Ms. Postelli's firm represents General Motors all over the States of Indiana and Illinois and Ford Motor Co. in Northern Indiana.

Interestingly, the seminar was titled: "PLEASE Sue My Clients for Violation of the Indiana Lemon Laws (And get your fees paid too!)." It was very informative and all presenters did a good job of relaying the basics of lemon law in Indiana. Ms. Postelli spent a significant amount of time talking about the disservice the Internet Boys (her term for the big out-of-state Internet lemon law firm currently representing around 90% of all lemon law plaintiffs in the state) were doing to their clients, the reputation of lawyers and the practice of law in general.

Having practiced against this "law firm" in the past, I would have to wholeheartedly agree. Their practice is built on volume, and because of this, individual attention to each client is intentionally kept to a minimum. Ms. Postelli noted that this results in a multitude of problems, from clients with unrealistic expectations, to attorneys who don't know their client's case, to clients who are dissatisfied with their entire experience with the judicial system.

The title of the seminar arose out of Ms. Postelli's desire to see other attorneys throughout the state handle more of these cases. She related that her clients had approved this approach. In keeping with this theme, Ms. Postelli was more than generous in offering her assistance, by phone or e-mail, to any lawyer in the state desiring to handle a plaintiff's lemon law claim.

Because of the nature of the seminar, it did not get into much of the specifics and nuances of the law in this area. It would have been nice, but that's OK. Overall, it was well done. My thanks and appreciation go out to Ms. Postelli, Ms. Letourneaux, and Mr. Petticrew.

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February 12, 2007

Indiana Consumer Lawyer Rant On Class-Action Lawsuits

I recently received an e-mail notice of the pending resolution of a class-action lawsuit against Experian, one of the big three credit reporting agencies. Experian had been sued "because of the way [they] advertised their credit scores and credit-monitoring products and because of certain information about credit that was contained on [their] websites." Experian was accused of violating the Credit Repair Organizations Act.

Credit repair organizations sprang up in droves in the '90's, particularly with the proliferation of the Internet. They often advertised almost miracle credit cures, and charged the most vulnerable of consumers hefty fees. These companies were almost always a big rip off. The bottom line: anything that a credit repair organization can legally do for you, you can do for yourself for free! Anyway, the Credit Repair Organizations Act was designed to curb some of the most flagrant abuses of the credit repair industry.

I apparently received the Notice of Proposed Class-Action Settlement because I had purchased a credit score from the Experian website during the relevant time period. The notice gave me a website to visit to learn more. I took the time to do that, and frankly, was horrified at what I found. What I found was a gigantic waste of time and money that only accomplished one thing: making lawyers money.

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