The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 101 Number 10

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

Voluntarily returning a car you can't pay for may not get you off the hook. In most cases, the car will be sold and you will owe the difference between your debt and what the car sells for. If you think the car is being accepted in exchange for release for your debt, get that agreement in writing.

For more general information about the law, check out my website.
 Click here for more.

Changes Coming for Malaysian Airlines

Things aren't going smoothly for Malaysian Airlines. Earlier this year, the embattled airline was the center of controversy when one of its aircraft disappeared with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board. Then, in July, another Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down over the Ukraine, taking the lives of the 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

The two incidents deeply strained consumer trust in the brand, leaving the airline with a major battle just to get consumers on board. Already operating at a loss for the five years before the incidents, industry analysts believe the loss of Flights 370 and 17 may be catastrophic for the company's future.

In recent weeks, company operations have been losing $1.6 million a day. Despite offering consumers significantly discounted rates (about half of competitors prices) and bumping commissions for travel agents who book consumers on Malaysian flights, its planes are still nearly empty.

An overhaul of the airline is coming, with the expectation of a new name, rebranding, and labor restructuring before reintroduction to the marketplace.

Will the airline make it? Would you be willing to fly overseas on Malaysian Airlines if you could save hundred of dollars?
 Click here for more.

American Airlines Withdraws from Orbitz

If you use Orbitz to book your trips, you're going to have fewer options when choosing an airline to take you to your final destination.

This week, American Airlines announced it will no longer offer flights through the popular travel site. As of September 1, US Airways (which is merging with American Airlines) will pull it's flights from Orbitz as well.

According to American Airlines, the relationship with Orbitz has become too expensive. Consumers will still be able to purchase tickets through the airline's own website or through other online travel agencies, but not through Orbitz.

The loss of American Airlines is a big blow for Orbitz. Following the merger with US Airways, American surpasses United as the largest carrier. For a company like Orbitz, that's big business. However, the same could be said for American Airlines. Orbitz is among the most popular sites on the Internet for booking trips, and without its inclusion as a provider, American could stand to miss out as well.

What sort of impact will the breakup of Orbitz and American Airlines have on your travel arrangements?
 Click here for more.

Plane Diverted for Seat Reclining

When you fly, does it irritate you when the person in front of you reclines his seat? With most airlines trying to pack as many passengers on board as possible, comfort comes at a premium. However, even if you buy a seat with extra legroom, a reclined seat could be the difference between comfort and misery.

For two passengers, a dispute over reclining seat resulted in a diverted flight and outright removal from the plane.

It all started when a passenger used the Knee Defender, a $22 device that connects to a passengers tray table to prevent the person in front from reclining the seat. When he refused to disable the device so that the lady in front could recline her seat, a scuffle broke out. Met by Chicago Police and TSA officers, the incident was labeled a "customer service issue."

Although not banned by federal regulators, many airlines have rules preventing the use of devices like the Knee Defender.
 Click here for more.

Your Money

Which is right for you - a 15 year or 30 year mortgage?
 Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not require consumer dispute a debt to sue under the Act.

The Fourth Circuit rejected the argument that a debtor must avail herself of the dispute provision in order to enjoy the FDCPA's other protections.
Click here for more.

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