Consumers expect lenders to operate ethically and honestly. Unfortunately, that is not always the way these interactions go. Predatory lending is a serious problem, and it is rooted in deceitful actions against unknowing consumers. Thankfully, if your lender has misled you, you are not without options for legal recourse. The Florida Fair Lending Act and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) both prohibit a number of deceptive actions. A Miami consumer protection attorney can help borrowers seek justice for behavior barred by these laws.
Here are three steps the attorneys at our firm recommend taking if you believe you are a victim of predatory lending.
Step 1: Determine whether predatory lending occurred
While predatory lending may be clear to you as a borrower, it is important to ensure you have the evidence to support that it occurred. A consumer protection lawyer with a clear understanding of the what the law prohibits can assist you in reviewing your loan documents and communications with your lender to pinpoint proof that an injustice has taken place. Some of the most common unlawful tactics that lenders use include working hidden costs and fees into the final agreement, including a balloon payment at the end of the loan, and using a “bait and switch” method to draw you in with a too-good-to-be-true deal, which is swapped out at the last minute for a less favorable arrangement.
Step 2: Weigh your options
Depending on what your attorney advises, you may have multiple methods for protecting your financial future and getting the justice you deserve. For starters, if the TILA was violated and you entered the agreement within the past three days, you can enact your right of rescission. This would release you of the obligation to honor the agreement. If the timeframe to rescind has passed, you may have a case for a civil lawsuit to recover damages. In the event that these predatory practices have to lead you into a potential foreclosure, your foreclosure defense attorney may be able to use those actions as a defense in court.
Step 3: Consult with a Miami consumer protection attorney
Speaking of attorneys, seeking out legal counsel is always advisable when you believe your lender has acted deceptively. An attorney can prove to be an invaluable asset when it comes to determining whether you actually have a case. Not only can a seasoned professional identify unlawful practices you may not have even been aware of, they can also confirm whether you have the evidence required to make your case. If it turns out you do not, your lawyer can guide you through your options short of legal action for getting back on track financially.
Have you fallen victim to predatory lending practices? A Miami consumer protection attorney at Graham Legal can help. Contact our office today to get a free consultation regarding your case.