Gallagher & Associates Team

Gallagher & Associates Team

Monday, February 1, 2010

Breast Cancer 3 Day

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Tampa Bay 3-Day for the Cure!

Credit law puts parents on the hook for teens' cards - Bay News 9

Credit law puts parents on the hook for teens' cards - Bay News 9

Sinkholes in Bay Area

Over 30 sinkholes have recently opened up around Tampa Bay this past month. Why the sudden increase in sinkholes?

We have the cold weather spell to thank for this rash of sinking. During the recent cold snap, much of the groundwater below the surface has vanished.
The lowered groundwater levels are due to pumping of water to protect crops from freezing temperatures. Farmers use water to give their plants a protective coating, or just to keep them warm during the period of freezing temperatures.
Research shows when that water's quickly pumped out of wells, the slow, natural process of sinkhole formation can be sped up dramatically.

G&A handles sinkhole claims and litigation, should you find yourself in a sinking situation.

Cat Called to Jury Duty

A family in East Boston was shocked when their family cat Sal received a jury summons recently. Sal's owners, Guy and Anna Esposito, believe the source of the confusion came from the last Census. Mrs. Esposito considers Sal a member of the family and listed "Sal Esposito" under a section for pets and wrote "cat" next to his name.

Mrs. Esposito has since tried to clear the mix-up by filing for Sal's disqualification of service. However, the jury commissioner denied the request. As it stands, Sal is required to appear at the Suffolk Superior Court on March 23, 2010. Mrs. Esposito hopes that the issue is resolved by then. If not, Mrs. Esposito plans to bring Sal to court to report for jury duty.

New Credit Card Laws

On February 22, 2010, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure, or Credit CARD, Act of 2009 goes into effect. The legislation will improve consumer disclosures and end some questionable practices in the credit card industry. There Act contains eight major changes.

1. Retroactive rate increases

Issuers can't raise rates on an existing balance unless a promotional rate expired, the variable indexed rate increased or you paid late by 60 days or more. No longer will they be able to punish borrowers for late payments on unrelated accounts under the practice of universal default or due to "anytime, any reason" clauses.

2. More advance notice of rate hikes

Consumers get 45 days' notice before key contract changes take effect, including rate increases. Under the current Truth in Lending Act, cardholders only receive a 15-day heads up.

3. Fee restrictions

Cardholders will not face overlimit fees unless they elect to allow the creditor to approve overlimit transactions. Issuers can't charge more than one overlimit fee per billing cycle.

4. Restricts card issuance to students

Consumers under age 21 who can't prove an independent means of income or provide the signature of a co-signer aged 21 or older won't get approved for credit cards.

5. Ends double-cycle billing

The new law bans double-cycle billing, the practice of basing finance charges on the current and previous balance. Under this method, the issuer could charge interest on debt already paid off the previous month.

6. Fairer payment allocation

A close look at your card agreement will likely reveal a clause that explains that payments will be applied to lower-rate balances first. Not so anymore. The Credit CARD Act requires above-the-minimum payments to be applied first to the credit card balance with the highest interest rate.

7. More time to pay

Card companies must send statements 21 days before a payment is due. Current law requires a mere 14 days' notice.

8. Gift card protections

The legislation includes protections for gift cardholders. The new law prohibits gift cards from expiring for at least five years. Issuer cannot assess inactivity fees unless the card has gone unused for 12 months.