The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 124 Number 11

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

Do you have a consumer problem? Trouble with a defective product, landlord, service provider or debt collector? The Texas Consumer Compliant Center provides free assistance.  Click here for more.

Millions of Americans Spend Half of Their Money on Rent

Personal finance experts recommend that Americans spend no more than 30% of their income on rent. But that's getting harder to do with rent prices rising faster than wages. A new study shows that over 10 million Americans pay at least half of their income on rent. In the 10 cities with the highest housing costs, renters with middle-class incomes are having a particularly hard time making ends meet. Nearly 75% of renters earning $30,000-$44,999 and 50% of those making $45,000-$75,000 living in these hot markets are considered "cost-burdened" -- meaning they spend at least 30% of their income on rent. Click here for more.

Your Money

While medical costs continue to rise, there are ways consumers can reduce their out-of-pocket medical costs. While it’s hard to do comparison shopping, it is important to find out prices ahead of time when you can. You wouldn’t renovate you house without getting several estimates, and consumers should learn to look at expensive medical procedures, especially elective ones, the same way. Not all hospitals charge the same price for each procedure. Also, do not be afraid to explicitly state in advance that you want your entire care team to be within your insurance's health care network. It can also save you money if you ask doctors whether a procedure is actually necessary, or whether a less expensive medication will do just as well for you. Always scrutinize your bills afterward. Hospitals make errors on their bills, including charges for bed linens and hospital gowns, which aren’t supposed to be charged for separately. Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

Approval of marketing strategy is sufficient to establish TCPA liability. The Sixth Circuit held that approval of the marketing strategy used by a third party was sufficient to establish the possibility of liability under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The court reversed summary judgment in favor of a defendant in a putative class action. The dispute centered around an allegedly unsolicited fax advertisement received by Siding and Insulation Company in November 2005 promoting the services of Alco Vending. Alco had paid a third party company to provide the advertising services by fax. Siding and Insulation Co. v. Alco Vending, Inc (6th Cir.). Click here for more.

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