image description

Consumer Protection

David Mahlum has spent the majority of his career in the courtroom defending clients on criminal and traffic charges.  In addition to becoming a skilled trial lawyer and negotiator, during this time David also learned the ins and outs of a few narrow areas of law related to Consumer Protection.  While criminal and traffic offenses are the main focus of the firm, David would be happy to assist you in either of these areas as well.

Residential Security Deposits

North Carolina has strong laws protecting residential renters, especially when it comes to their Security Deposit.  Unfortunately, many landlords don’t feel it is necessary to abide by those rules.  The Tenant Security Deposit Act requires a landlord to do certain things.  Specifically, it requires a landlord hold your security deposit in a trust account, and notify you within 30 days of the name and address of the bank where it is held.  Once the lease is terminated and the premises are delivered to the landlord, he or she must provide you with an itemized list of damages that were withheld from the deposit and return the balance within 30 days.  Failure to do any of these things prevents the landlord from being able to keep any of the deposit!  In addition, the “damages” the landlord alleges must be reasonable and cannot include normal wear and tear to the premises.  If you feel your landlord did not comply with these requirements, or if you feel unreasonable damages were withheld, contact David today to discuss  your options. Please have a copy of your lease to provide.

Credit Card Debt Litigation

First and foremost, we are not a bankruptcy firm and cannot provide debt counseling.  However, if you are being sued over credit card debt, we can help.  Most lawsuits in North Carolina over credit card debt are initiated by businesses like Portfolio Recovery Associates.  These businesses operate by buying charged-off accounts from credit card companies for pennies on the dollar, and are classified as “Debt Buyers” in North Carolina.  As Debt Buyers, they are subjected to certain requirements when they file a lawsuit, like having to provide a copy of the original contract (the original credit card application) or documents generated when the card is used (a receipt).  If they don’t abide by these requirements, the suit can be thrown out (but keep reading for the best part).  In addition, North Carolina Statute 58-70-115 specifically lists certain actions that are Unfair Practices.  This list includes filing a lawsuit without notifying the debtor (you) 30 days in advance of your intention to do so, filing a lawsuit without valid documentation that the buyer is the owner of the debt, and filing a lawsuit without reasonable verification of the amount owed.

So there are certain rules for debt buyers.  It can be very difficult for a debt buyer to stay within the rules.  This is intentional, because debt buyers have a history of filing lawsuits without verifying debts and trying to collect on debts that are either no longer enforceable due to statute of limitations or have been discharged in bankruptcy.  What does all this mean for you? The individual who is being sued by a big corporation?  Failure to comply with the statute by the debt buyer means there is a very good chance you may be able to have your case thrown out.  What else? You may be able to counter-sue!  For each violation, the debt buyer can be held liable for not less than $500 and not more than $4000.  If you are being sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates, or any other North Carolina Debt Buyer or Collection Agency, contact us right away to discuss your options.  We will work with you to protect your rights.