Consumer

General Consumer Articles

Follow these 10 tips as you hire a building contractor.
This law provides standards for the protection of consumers, including tenants and prospective tenants of residential property.
This article discusses Affidavit Judgments, and your options if another party files for an Affidavit Judgment against you.
Artisans' and Mechanics' Liens are a way for workers to make sure they get paid for their work.
A cosigner is someone, often a family member, who helps a borrower get approved for a loan, by agreeing to repay the loan if the borrower does not.
You may register your phone number (including cell phone number) with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Consumer Protection Bureau. The FTC has set up a special website where you can register your phone numbers at https://www.donotcall.gov/
Improving your home is a key part of home ownership. When using a contractor understanding the contract is key.
Improving your home is a key part of home ownership. This article describes how to resolve disputes with your home improvement contractor.
At 18, your child may enter into contracts and sign legal documents for herself. As she becomes an adult, she may wish to give you some access to information and authority to make decisions in order to have your continued help. For example, she can put in place a HIPAA release authorization form, an advance health care directive, and a durable general power of attorney.
In Maryland, debts must be collected within a certain time. If you owe money to someone, the person is called a creditor, and what you owe them is called a debt. The creditor generally has 3 years (4 years if the debt is owed for the sale of goods) from the date the debt becomes due to ask the court to order you to pay. A court order to pay a debt is known as a judgment. If the creditor does not go to court within the time limit, then the court generally will not order you to pay the debt.
A table of options for resolving disputes with contractors

Affidavit Judgments

This article discusses Affidavit Judgments, and your options if another party files for an Affidavit Judgment against you.

Automobiles

Maryland's lemon law applies only to cars, light trucks and motorcycles that: Are registered in Maryland, and have been driven less than 18,000 miles and been owned less than 18 months.

What does Maryland require to lawfully drive a car? Registration, title and license plates; an inspection; a valid driver’s license; an emissions test; and insurance.

A public record can be corrected or a vehicle titled by petitioning for a writ of mandamus. Mandamus (Latin for "we command") is a writ issued by a court commanding a public official to perform an action.
A simple scenario: "As is sale of a car to a stranger. In this simple case, you can follow these steps. Some of the steps and documents are explained below.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy laws help people who can no longer pay their creditors get a fresh start – by liquidating assets to pay their debts or by creating a repayment plan.
Special debts like child support, alimony and student loans, will not be eliminated when filing for bankruptcy.
Depending on where you live (or have assets), you may file in Greenbelt or Baltimore. You must show that you live in Maryland or you had a business or most of your assets in Maryland.
In Maryland, you can keep certain property, even if you file for bankruptcy. This property is called "exempt".
Can a Judge ever turn down a bankruptcy petition? Who notifies the creditors and bill collectors? Can I use bankruptcy to stop foreclosure on my home or to stop other actions by creditors?
For personal debts, most people file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is quicker and simpler than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a federal court process designed to reorganize and repay your debts.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a federal court process designed to eliminate most of your debts. The court will appoint a trustee, who will arrange to liquidate all of your assets, with the exception of certain "exempt" assets.

Contracts

Improving your home is a key part of home ownership. When using a contractor understanding the contract is key.
Follow these 10 tips as you hire a building contractor.
A power of attorney is a document that gives someone legal authority to act for another person.
This article defines a contract and discusses some of the common legal issues in contract law.
At 18, your child may enter into contracts and sign legal documents for herself. As she becomes an adult, she may wish to give you some access to information and authority to make decisions in order to have your continued help. For example, she can put in place a HIPAA release authorization form, an advance health care directive, and a durable general power of attorney.
Improving your home is a key part of home ownership. This article describes how to resolve disputes with your home improvement contractor.

Credit: Debts & Loans

There are laws that protect certain income and assets from debt collectors. This is sometimes known as being “Collection Proof” or "Judgment Proof".
Credit is the privilege to borrow money and obtain goods today based upon a promise to make repayments in the future. Credit is not a right, but merely a privilege that can be lost if it is not used responsibly.
Warning signs of a debt problem, what if you cannot pay your bills, going to court and protecting your assets.
“Debt collectors” are collection agencies, attorneys, creditors collecting for someone else, and creditors collecting under another name as well as others. Creditors collecting for themselves are not “debt collectors.” Under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act debt collectors may not...
Am I responsible for my spouse's debts even if I did not benefit from the purchase? My spouse died recently. All of our property was jointly owned. I am receiving medical bills with charges I did NOT authorize. Am I required to pay these bills?

Credit Counseling Agencies are nonprofit agencies that help debtors work with creditors to arrange a repayment plan as a means of reducing their debt without filing for bankruptcy.
Buying on credit, over time, is very popular these days. Yet once in a while, a bill has a mistake on it. What can you do when your credit card bill has a mistake?
The Maryland Job Applicant Fairness Act makes it illegal for most employers to require a credit check for job applicants.
In 2011, the General Assembly passed a law requiring firms offering debt settlement services to register with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation
To garnish is to take property, most often a portion of someone's salary, by legal authority. Garnishment is a proceeding by a creditor to collect a debt by taking the property or assets of a debtor.
To garnish is to take property, most often a portion of someone's salary, by legal authority. Garnishment is a proceeding by a creditor to collect a debt by taking the property or assets of a debtor.
Mistakes on your credit report can affect your ability to obtain credit, insurance, employment, or rent or buy a home or car. Errors on your credit report can be corrected to accurately reflect your current credit.
In Maryland, debts must be collected within a certain time. If you owe money to someone, the person is called a creditor, and what you owe them is called a debt. The creditor generally has 3 years (4 years if the debt is owed for the sale of goods) from the date the debt becomes due to ask the court to order you to pay. A court order to pay a debt is known as a judgment. If the creditor does not go to court within the time limit, then the court generally will not order you to pay the debt.

Identity Theft

There are many steps you can take to try to keep your personal information private.
What identity theft is, how to deal with the threat of identity theft, and organizations that can help.

Small Claims

Small Claims Court is a division of the District Court of Maryland that handles disputes involving no more than $5,000.

Student Loans

This article explains various types of student loans and gives tips on determining which kind you have.
There are several options to help prevent you from defaulting on your loans. These include Deferment, Consolidation, and Income-based Repayment.
If you are in default, your lender may place your loan with a collection agency. The collection agency may contact you to try to collect. Default may also be reported to credit bureaus, damaging your credit report.

Unfair Practices

If you are dissatisfied with the product or service provided by a Maryland business, there are government and non-government agencies which provide a way for you to pursue a complaint.

Warranties

This article offers a basic description of warranties in commercial and consumer law.