The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 51 Number 6

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

A landlord has an obligation to change the locks on your doors whenever you request it. You may be charged the cost of making the change, but no additional fees.  Click here for more.

Addressing Health Care as Taxable Income

Starting in 2011, employers will be required to disclose the cost of your health insurance policy on your W-2 form. As a result, some consumers are worried that the value of the health policy will be included as taxable income. Rest assured, your health plan is not considered part of your taxable income. Click here for more.

Texas AG Sues Bally Total Fitness

Last week, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott charged Bally Total Fitness with unlawfully deceiving Texas consumers. The company sent fake bills to former members, labeled "past due," in order to get former members to rejoin the gym. Bally Total Fitness mailed more than 11,000 "past due" notices and more than 1,000 consumers made payments. Attorney General Greg Abbott is seeking $20,000 for each violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Click here for more.

Alert: Scams Related to Gulf Oil Spill

Whenever a major disaster hits, scam artists jump on the opportunity to defraud consumers. The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to be on the lookout for oil spill scams. Scam artists will likely attempt to raise money for "environmental causes" through e-mails, websites, door-to-door collections, flyers, mailings and telephone calls. Be careful! If you want to help with the cleanup, research charities carefully. Click here for more.

Your Money

Negative equity auto loan payment calculator. Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

Wrongful death annuity exempt in bankruptcy. The Second Circuit held that under New York law, annuity payments that a debtor was entitled to under the terms of a wrongful death settlement are not part of his bankruptcy estate. The court noted that “New York law permits the debtor to exempt the annuity payments and that he gave consideration for the contract when he released a wrongful death claim.” Click here for more.


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