From Las Vegas to the world
Earlier this week, law enforcement, legal services attorneys, consumer advocates and nearly 120 other people found common ground in Las Vegas. The Federal Trade Commission put together “Protecting Nevada’s Consumers: A Common Ground Conference” to discuss the consumer protection issues facing Nevadans. What did we learn? That Nevadans face some unique challenges – but many more are the same kinds of challenges we see across the region and country.
Here are some take-aways:
- While many states are digging out of the mortgage crisis, many of Nevada’s homeowners are still underwater, owing more than their homes are now worth.
- The Nevada’s Attorney General’s office is seeing fraud by Spanish speakers on Spanish-speaking consumers – something the FTC sees nationally.
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services has noted some scams offer to put people “front of the line” once immigration reform legislation passes. The issue here? No one can put anyone at the front of any line.
- Kathia Pereira, an immigration attorney who represents La Hermandad Mexicana and The Citizenship Project (two major non-profits that help immigrants in the valley) discussed Nevada’s new law that requires notarios and document preparers to pass a background check, pay a bond, and tell people they cannot give legal advice.
- Venicia Considine, from the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, noted that, “Payday loans are like potato chips. No one has just one.” That’s something we’ve heard from advocates across the country.
- Sophia Medina, also from the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, explained that they’re seeing cases where car dealers are supposed to unwind a deal – meaning that consumers get back their downpayment and the car they traded in – but they actually convince consumers to get into a worse deal (or less expensive car) than they originally had.
The FTC is grateful to the Nevada Attorney General’s office and the CFPB for co-hosting this event.