Consumer Protection & Fraud

CONSUMER FRAUD

Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC attorneys are committed to the idea that consumers are entitled to fairness and safety in their purchase and use of all products and services in the marketplace. An unwitting consumer can fall victim to a scam in contexts ranging from relatively small retail store purchases to more complex financial contracts. Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC attorneys are eager to discuss legal actions to protect consumer rights and to remedy cases involving unlicensed contractors, misleading advertising, harmful product defects, and other forms of injurious practices.

FORECLOSURE DEFENSE AND LOAN MODIFICATION

As seen in the Michael Lewis movie and book “The Big Short,” the financial and mortgage crisis caused by loan securitization has wreaked havoc on the American economy and put millions of homeowners out of their homes due to foreclosure. At GRWS, we understand the fear, frustration, and hopelessness that homeowners face when dealing with possible foreclosure and the never-ending false statements and repetitive requests for documents from banks and servicers when trying to apply for a loan modification or seeking assistance. But there is hope; our firm can help level the playing field against the bank in and out of court. Beginning in 2010, Congress and state governments passed numerous laws and regulations to protect homeowners and keep them in their homes through loan modification, reduce their possible deficiency judgments or seek compensation from the banks for violation of state and federal laws. Contact us today to discuss your options.

AUTO SALES AND FINANCING

Besides a home, buying an automobile is the largest purchase that many Americans will ever make. Unfortunately, there are still unscrupulous auto dealers who take advantage of buyers by misrepresenting the condition of a vehicle or concealing prior damage, accidents or defects. Further, some dealers and financing companies engage in fraudulent or illegal tactics when a customer finances a vehicle, including misrepresenting such things as the interest rate, a consumer’s credit score or the actual financing charges. Dealers also engage in schemes such as spot delivery scams or yo-yo financing, where the dealer tells a consumer that he or she is approved for financing only to call them later demanding more money. If you have been the victim of fraud in the connection with the purchase of an automobile, it is important that you act quickly to preserve your rights and the attorneys at GRWS will fight vigorously on your behalf.

FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT LITIGATION

Do you want to buy a home, a car, a cell phone, rent an apartment or even apply for a job? In today’s modern world, you will need to submit to a credit history check to do all of those things and false or misleading information on your credit report can have devastating effects. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) and furnisher (credit card companies) are required to follow certain regulations, but unfortunately, they often do not. Many times when this occurs, it is only through litigation that you can have false information removed or corrected on your credit report, or receive compensation for the harm which you have suffered. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and how to protect them.

HOME REMODEL/CONTRACTOR DISPUTES

The representation of home owners against their contractors has become one of our firms primary practice areas.  Unfortunately, there is a regular pattern in the District of Colombia and surrounding areas where the inflated DC housing market that forces families to overpay for real estate that still needs significant work. Families attempt to save money by hiring the least expensive contractor to do the remodel of their home.  What follows results in nightmares for the homeowners who hired contractors that misrepresented their capabilities to build quality work, the timeliness of the work, the quality of the materials used and their compliance with building codes.

Our attorneys guide our clients through this process and in the few instances where the client contacts us before they sign their contract our firm is able to structure the contract in a way that will help protect you in the event that contractor breaches the contract.

If we are contacted after construction has started, has been completed our attorneys will evaluate the situation and help you get to the best result possible through negotiation or legal action.

WE encourage you to consider the following our 10-step guide to avoid this nightmare than can put your deep into debt and prevent you from living in your dream house.

  1. Research the contractor you hire and get a referral from another customer.
  2. Ensure the contractor you have hired is properly licensed.
  3. Meet with the contractor and get an idea for what their schedule looks like and ask to see photos of previous projects of theirs.
  4. Document all communications with the contractor – using email makes this easier, but if you have oral conversations, email yourself a summary of the communication and send a “confirming our conversation” email to the contractor.
  5. Before signing a contract contact a lawyer at GRWS to review the contract.
  6. Make sure every aspect of the job is specified in writing including: the materials, the time, the labor cost, code compliance and the details of the final product.
  7. Take photos and video of your house prior to the start of the job.
  8. Make regular visits to check on the work and take photos – (fun note if the job goes well this makes for a fun time lapse video to show friends).
  9. If you believe there is a potential issue with the work being done contact a GRWS attorney right away to ensure the issue is properly raised and documented.
  10. When the job is complete take photos and video.

LANDLORD – TENANT

Housing law conflicts often pit tenant against landlord when and if a tenant is subjected to substandard conditions or discriminatory practices, but may just as easily require protection of a landlord’s rights to collect reasonable rents and seek legal remedies for damage to the premises. Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC attorneys are well-versed in the nuances of both landlord and tenant rights and are willing to help clients settle all types of housing disputes.

CONSUMER DEBT SETTLEMENTS

Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC attorneys are especially sensitive to the pervasive problem of crushing consumer debt. Many people are unaware that they may have a chance at either debt reduction or an adjusted payment schedule in order to satisfy an outstanding debt. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators in the area of debt settlement and will not charge large up-front fees or monthly fees so common among debt settlement companies. Our rates are reasonable and our approach, as in all practice areas, is to be honest with the client about the options and prospects for remedy.