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Forced Arbitration: What Is It and Why Is It an Issue?

The issue of forced arbitration clauses in various types of contracts has been a hot-button issue for years. Forced arbitration provisions are, essentially, clauses in contracts that make it mandatory for one party to give up their right to sue publicly and, instead, force them to settle the issue in closed-door arbitration, which has little government oversight and is generally less likely to favor plaintiffs. This Read More

Fraudulent Accounts with Fifth Third Bank?

On March 9, right before the country’s collective attention was shifted to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed suit against Fifth Third Bank, alleging aggressive cross-selling that resulted in customers’ names and funds being funneled into unauthorized accounts and lines of credit. Specifically, the CFPB suit claims that: Employees opened bank accounts and lines of Read More

Considerations for Consumers During COVID-19

Here and there, the federal government (and some state governments) have instituted financial relief for consumers due to coronavirus. This has come in the form of one-time monetary credits that nearly all Americans have received and suspension of student loan payments, among other measures. This blog will relay the key points of both of those federal efforts, including ways you can fight back if you have not Read More

COVID-19 Scammers Preying on the Public

Although the country is going through unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the presence of scammers and those looking to prey on vulnerable populations remains unchanged. The health crisis has only increased the opportunities for individuals wanting to make a dishonest quick buck. Bell Law is committed to helping consumers in Missouri and Kansas stay vigilant and aware of bad actors, and in that pursuit, Read More

Investigation: St. Francis Ministries Data Breach

On April 10, 2020, St. Francis Ministries announced that it had become aware of “suspicious activities relating to one of its employee’s email accounts.” See Notice of Data Event. These activities occurred during December 2019 and entailed the possible accessing of highly private information. St. Francis Ministries is based in Hutchinson, Kansas, and provides child welfare services throughout Kansas, as well as in Read More

Takata Airbags: What You Need To Know and What You Can Do

One of the more prominent automobile safety recalls in the last decade is the recall of airbags manufactured by the now-defunct Takata Corporation. This problem came to light in 2013 and has since involved nearly 70 million faulty products worldwide, with 42 million of those in the U.S. The original recall (2013-present) stemmed from Takata airbags having long-term exposure to extreme heat and humidity. This resulted Read More

5 Answers to Common HIPAA Questions

If you’ve ever obtained medical treatment or even visited your family doctor for a checkup, you’ve probably heard of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. This law has become more prominent in recent years thanks to multiple headlines announcing cyber attacks on healthcare providers and insurers and consequent data breaches. Below is a list of 5 common HIPAA questions and their Read More

The Two Biggest Things You Need to Know About Proposed Changes to the Military Lending Act

The Military Lending Act (MLA), which became law in 2006, provides certain protections to active-duty members of the U.S. military and their dependents in consumer credit transactions. It is designed to prevent service members from being exploited by predatory financial products, but changes are being proposed that may eliminate some of those protections. Here are the two biggest things you need to know about Read More

Defend Your Rights: 4 Ways You Can Fight Back Against Over-Aggressive Debt Collectors

Debt collectors account for the majority of complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission every year. In 2017, consumers filed over 9,000 inquiries and complaints with the Consumer Protection Section of the Office of the Attorney General, most of them about unethical collection agencies. Consumers report incidents of being belittled, called at work, threatened with lawsuits, and other unethical practices that Read More

The Top 5 Most Common Violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) is a federal statute designed to prevent discriminatory lending practices in banks and other financial institutions or lenders. Applicants cannot be judged by factors other than their creditworthiness, which means that it is illegal to deny a credit application or charge higher interest rates or fees on the basis of: Race Color Religion National origin Sex / Read More