The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 71 Number 12

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

Extended warranties, or service contracts, are usually not a good buy or even necessary. Stores make a large profit selling these contracts and often pressure consumers into buying them. Take your time and think carefully before you buy an expensive item that you don't even need.  Click here for more.

AT&T Throttles Data for Unlimited Users

When AT&T made changes to its data plan and price structure, existing users who wanted to keep their unlimited data package were grandfathered in under their old plans. Now it appears that some of those users won't get the unlimited data package they were expecting. Instead, AT&T has decided to throttle data for an unknown number of customers in an effort to lighten the load on its network. What might surprise those customers is how much data they must use before AT&T throttles data. According to numerous customer reports, data throttling on an unlimited plan occurs kicks in after less usage than customers on the new tiered ("limited") plans. When AT&T decides to throttle data, a customer will notice a significantly slower Internet connection. In some instances, the customer may not be able to use the Internet at all. Last year, in AT&T v. Concepcion, the Supreme Court ruled that AT&T customers can't band together for a class action, or even take individual cases to a jury. That leaves binding arbitration and (maybe) small claims court. If AT&T throttles your data, what can you do about it? Click here for more.

DIY: Helpful Tools for Your Tax Return

Don't have an accountant? Planning to complete and file your own tax return? With so many tools and tips available online, filing your own tax return has never been easier. What information can you find on the IRS website? What books will help you? Which software is right for you? How can you file for free? For answers to these questions, Click here for more.

Animal Shelter Needs Public's Help

Do you live in Houston? The local animal shelter needs your help. Although capacity for the shelter is set at 550 cats and dogs, they are currently housing around 650 animals. Over a three day span, the shelter took in 250 cats and dogs. Adoption prices are normally $75, but now you can get a dog for $20 and a cat for $10. If you have space for a new family member, here's a chance for you to save a life and enjoy a loving companion. Click here for more.

Your Money

Calculate your estate tax liability! Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

Debit card charge didn't violate Social Security Act. The Seventh Circuit held that a television service provider did not violate federal law by charging an early termination fee against a Social Security recipient's debit card account. The Social Security Act generally prohibits the assignment, attachment or garnishment of benefits. The plaintiff alleged that the charge violated federal law because all the funds in her debit card account consisted of her Social Security benefits. But the court decided that there was no violation of the statute, explaining that "spending money with a source in Social Security benefits is distinct from assigning the benefit stream itself." Click here for more.


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