AARP Foundation Litigation:
Consumer and Utilities Team
- Jean Constantine-Davis, Senior Attorney
- Julie Nepveu, Senior Attorney
The AFL Consumer and Utilities Team focuses on combating predatory financial services products and unfair and deceptive practices that are used to sell them.
In the home mortgage area, the team’s cases involve challenges to predatory lending that underlies many foreclosures taking place today. The cases contest the legality of the toxic mortgage products that dominated the subprime market for many years; the targeting of vulnerable populations for the sale of these products; and the marketing of the products through deceptive practices.
In non-mortgage lending areas, the team’s cases focus on ensuring that lenders and debt collectors follow the rules. The team’s cases seek to protect consumers from being charged excessive or unfair interest rates and fees. The team works to protect exempt benefits and other income from unfair debt collection practices.
The team also seeks to protect injured consumer’s access to courts and to enhance compliance with legal protections against unfair and deceptive practices in the marketplace through the deterrent value of litigation. The team challenges the inclusion of binding mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts that make it difficult or impossible for people with small money claims to access the courts.
The team also works to protect vulnerable people from unaffordable utilities. The team files briefs in courts reviewing decisions of utility regulators to ensure they protect the ratepayers from unfair rate increases. The team advocates for greater protection for electricity consumers to ensure that the vulnerable are able to access this necessary service as smart meters are installed across the country. The team works on cases to ensure that tenants pay no more than required for utilities in federally subsidized tenancies.
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