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Illinois Plaintiff's Lawyer Personal Injury Blog- Legal News and Insights from Champaign Urbana Attorneys Koester & Bradley, LLP

Hidden Dangers in Popular Do-It-Yourself Products



All across Illinois every weekend, thousands of unsuspecting home improvement enthusiasts unwittingly put themselves and their families at risk by using common solvents and products.
-Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP

Methylene Chloride: When DIY Leads to RIP 

You are spending a Saturday afternoon finally stripping the paint off the bedroom floor.  Little do you know that the product you are using to strip those stubborn layers of old paint could kill you.  There lurking on the storeroom shelves are products containing a highly-toxic chemical known as methylene chloride, also called Dichloromethane (DCM).  Methylene chloride identified by its Chemical Abstract Number:  75-09-2 is a volatile, colorless liquid with a sweet-smelling odor.  If the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is advising its workers to avoid products containing methylene chloride, then why does the general public still have access to these products? 


Methylene chloride is a chlorinated solvent used in a variety of industries and applications.  It is primarily used in paint removers but also is used in aerosol formulations, in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, as a degreasing agent, in metal cleaning, in electronics manufacturing and as an ethane foam blowing agent.  The Environmental Protection Agency states that paint and coating removal poses some of the highest exposures among the various uses of methylene chloride.


  • Short-term airborne exposure without proper safety equipment can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, a “feeling of intoxication, and eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Prolonged skin contact without proper safety equipment may cause irritation and even chemical burns
  • Increased airborne exposure without proper safety equipment can cause suffocation, loss of consciousness, coma and sudden death.
  • Animal studies have shown that long-term exposure to methylene chloride may lead to liver and lung cancer, as well as tumors in the breast and salivary glands
  • May lead to early onset heart attacks and arrhythmias in workers with heart disease due to an increase in carbon monoxide.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns that if a worker smells methylene chloride, then he/she has already been overexposed because methylene chloride cannot be smelled until the level in the air is higher than OSHA’s permissible exposure limits (25 ppm (parts per million) in an 8-hour time-weighted average or 125 ppm in a period of 15 minutes (short-term exposure limit)). 


Current warning on the product, Goof Off Semi-Paste Pro Stripper

WARNING:  Contains Methylene Chloride.  INHALATION OF VAPOR CAN KILL YOU.  DO NOT USE IN ENCLOSED AREAS such as basements, bathrooms or closets.  SYMPTOMS MAY NOT BE NOTICEABLE.  Avoid contact with eyes or skin, as severe irritation can occur.

DANGER!  POISON.  VAPOR EXTREMELY HARMFUL.  MAY BE FATAL IF USED IN ENCLOSED AND UNVENTILATED AREAS.  USE ONLY WITH ADEQUATE VENTILATION TO PREVENT BUILDUP OF VAPORS. MAY BE FATAL OR CAUSE BLINDNESS IF SWALLOWED.  EYE & SKIN IRRITANT.  Do not use in areas where vapors can accumulate and concentrate such as basements, bathrooms, bathtubs, closets or other small enclosed areas.  Whenever possible use outdoors in an open air area.  If using indoors open all windows and doors and maintain a cross ventilation of moving fresh air across the work area and across floor.  IF STRONG ODOR IS NOTICED OR YOU EXPERIENCE DIZZINESS, EYE-WATERING, OR HEADACHE – STOP! VENTILATION IS INADEQUATE.  LEAVE AREA IMMEDIATELY, AND GET FRESH AIR.  IF THE WORK AREA IS NOT WELL-VENTILATED, DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT.  IF used properly, a respirator may offer additional protection.  Obtain professional advice before using.  Cannot be made non-poisonous. 

Methylene Chloride has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.  Reports have associated repeated and prolonged over-exposure to solvents with neurological and other physiological damage.  The risk to your health depends on the level and duration of exposure.  Intentional misuse of this product by deliberating concentrating and inhaling vapors can be harmful or fatal.  Avoid breathing vapors or mist and contact with skin, eyes and clothing.  Do not swallow.

SAFETY DIRECTIONS:  USE OUTDOORS IN AN OPEN AREA.  It is dangerous to use this product indoors.  If you must use indoors, cross-ventilate work area by opening all windows and doors and circulating fresh air through the work area to reduce vapor accumulations.  Always wear chemical-splash goggles and chemical-resistant gloves when handling this product.  A dust mask does not provide protection against vapors.


  • Gloves made of polyethylene vinyl alcohol(PVA)/ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), or other laminate materials that are resistant to methylene chloride (required regardless of methylene chloride levels). LATEX, NITRATE, NEOPRENE AND POLYETHYLENE GLOVES DO NOT PROTECT AGAINST METHYLENE CHLORIDE.  BUTYL RUBBER GLOVES DO NOT MEET THE REQUIREMNET OF THE OSHA METHYLENE CHLORIDE STANDARD BECAUSE THEY DEGRADE IN LESS THAN 1 HOUR.
  • Outer gloves are also recommended to prevent cuts and tears to the inner methylene chloride-resistant gloves
  • Methylene chloride-resistant aprons, sleeves and boots or shoe covers
  • Chemical-resistant goggles or a face shield
  • OSHA requires workers to wear a full-face atmosphere-supplying respirator when engineering and work practice controls cannot decrease methylene chloride levels below OSHA’s permissible exposure limits.


A 2015 study conducted by the Center for Public Integrity determined that methylene chloride exposure was responsible for approximately 56 deaths since 1980.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted its own risk assessment of methylene chloride in paint stripping uses in 2014 and had proposed to ban the consumer and commercial paint stripping uses in January 2017.  However, in June 2017, the EPA announced that it would not re-evaluate the paint stripping uses of methylene chloride.  An EPA News release of May 10, 2018 announced that: (1) The EPA intends to finalize the methylene chloride rulemaking; (2) The EPA is not re-evaluating the paint stripping uses of methylene chloride and is relying on its previous risk assessments and (3) The EPA is working to send the finalized rulemaking to the EPA’S Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shortly. 

Methylene chloride is one of 10 specific chemicals that the EPA  chose to evaluate for changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act of June 2016.  The new rules would require when a chemical poses an unreasonable risk that the EPA be required to take action within two years, with a possible extension of four years.  If the chemical is assessed as unreasonably dangerous, then phaseouts and bans of this chemical must occur within five years of that assessment. 


On May 6, 2009, the European Parliament passed Decision 455/2009/EC which banned the use of methylene chloride in paint strippers by private persons and commercial entities.  Industrial uses are the exceptions to the decision but all products must be labeled accordingly.


News media have reported that Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, Sherwin-Williams, Menards, Ace and Truce Value will no longer sell paint strippers made with methylene chloride or N-methyle-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) in its United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America stores and will cease the selling of these products on its e-commerce sites as of February 2019.

By: Thomas Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

The Consumer Fraud Act and the Distant Buyer Scam in Illinois



The Illinois Consumer Fraud Act is aimed at allowing victims of fraud in Illinois to recover monetarily, and to punish those actors who commit fraud.  Recently, Illinois Fraud scams are targeting entrepreneurs.
-Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP

The Illinois Consumer Fraud Act Requires the Right Legal Team

 Koester & Bradley Illinois Consumer Lawyers

The Illinois’ Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act was implemented to protect product buyers from personal damages. As more citizens in Champaign Urbana and throughout the Illinois are taking advantage of the opportunity to gain additional income or pursue their dream of business ownership, it is becoming more prevalent that entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as individuals are opening themselves up to becoming the victim.  While the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act covers a variety of actions, the so-called distant-buyer scam is beginning to proliferate due to the rise of internet commerce.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE actions considered as fraud under the Illinois consumer fraud act?
  • False advertising across all media channels.  This includes the internet, print, and even the phone.
  • False or misleading statements made by salespeople on the phone, the internet, or in person.
  • False or misleading marketing materials.
  • Concealing relevant information or facts about a particular good or service.
  • A fraudulent or undisclosed commission payment schedule

The Emergence of the Distant Buyer Scam In Illinois


The eager Illinois entrepreneur that is seeking quick business ideas on a budget often steer towards resale-based business ventures. To begin their customer base, these new business owners hit the internet to promote and sell their products. These inexperienced business owners are often encountered with the distant buyer scam.
The distant buyer scam occurs when an unknown buyer sends the business an inquiry on one or more products that it sells. Typically, the product that the buyer wants to purchase carries a high ticket price. The buyer offers to pay more for the product than what the seller is asking and insists on sending their own shipper to pick up the product. In these events the buyer does send a legitimate looking check or money order that increases the level of trust the seller has.  The seller is instructed to send the additional funds to the shipper, often to a P.O. Box. The seller is then out the product and the money as their bank collects the funds from the business or individual’s account to cover the fraudulent check or money order when it doesn’t clear.
If you are one of Illinois’ home business owners that suspects you have encountered a distant buyer scammer, Illinois  Consumer Protection and Fraud attorneys can help you. These professionals are able to assist you with reporting the occurrence with the proper authorities and federal agencies. They have the knowledge and expertise to begin research into your case which offers a better chance of finding the culprits that have caused you the loss. Should a suspect or suspects be found in your case, your attorney will begin the necessary proceedings to help you collect the monetary compensation you are due.
If you feel you have been victimized by a distant buyer scam:
  1. Save any correspondences you have received from the buyer.
  2. Contact your local state police post and file a victim’s report.
  3. Contact an Illinois Consumer Protection and Fraud attorney.
  4. Do not attempt to cash any check or money order regardless of how legitimate it may seem.

If your home business has experienced a loss or you are unsure of the legitimacy of a distant buyer,  contact us and we will help you sort it out. You will have a better understanding of your rights and the scams which are lurking.

By Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Consumer Protection and Fraud: The Ongoing Cyber Threat of Ransomware




Ryan R Bradley

Illinois Consumer Protection and Fraud Attorney at Koester & Bradley, LLP

​For Illinois Consumers, Equifax dominates the headlines in cybersecurity, but Ransomware is a serious threat as well.

While large data breaches such at Target and  Equifax dominate the headlines, there are other equally frightening threats lurking on the internet that impact Illinois residents.  Illinois Consumer protection lawyers Koester & Bradley are still noticing a large jump in Ransomware attacks on individuals and businesses alike.  In fact, last week the city of Atlanta was attached and information necessary to run the entire city was held for ransom.  Are Illinois cities and consumers next?

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your screen and prevents access to your computer and its files until you pay a ransom.  Ransomware is not just a problem for large companies and hospitals, it afflicts individual and small to medium sized business as well across Illinois. It has been around in different forms since the mid 2000s and attacks both businesses and individuals with the hackers committing the fraud demanding payment in largely untraceable bitcoin. According to cybersecurity experts Tom Barker and Chris Heuman of Virtual Auditor, unlike earlier ransomware that disabled your computer, recent forms of this malware encrypt your files, which makes their recovery far more difficult. If you don't pay the several hundred-dollar ransom by a certain date, your files will be destroyed.

Champaign Illinois Consumer Protection attorneys Koester & Bradley warn that while there's no guarantee against becoming a victim, there are several measures for Illinois consumers and businesses to take to make an attack less likely and less damaging:

Back Up Your Files
Make frequent file backups to lessen the impact of an attack.  We now know that for Illinois residents, and consumers across the country, it is more probable than not that you will be a victim of cyber crime.  Don't store these files anywhere that's reachable by your computer because the ransomware may find and encrypt them. If you're using an external device for your backups, keep it disconnected from your computer. If you're using cloud services for backup storage, make sure they retain previous versions of your files that you can roll back to in case your most recent files are encrypted.

Backup files make recovery easier because it's just a matter of reinstalling your backups after the malware is removed from your computer and represent the primary way to reduce the damage caused by an attack.

Be Careful With Emails

Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from unfamiliar sources. If the email content from a familiar source seems unusual, it could be ransomware that's exploiting a list of your contacts. When an email is suspicious but plausible, contact the source independently of the email and its attachments.

If you have any questions about an email, even if it is from a send that you do know, verify with the sender and do a Google search for scams that are similar to the email that you received.  

Keep Your Software Updated
Ransomware may exploit known weaknesses of various software. Software providers respond to recently discovered security weaknesses with new version updates that "patch up the hole." Update all software including your firewall and anti-virus.  Additionally, ensure that you computer operating system, usually either Windows of Mac OS, is kept up-to-date.  Moat time you can suet this for automatic updates.

If your computer gets infected, your safest bet is to erase the entire system and reinstall your operating system. After this, scan your computer with an anti-virus that can detect ransomware. Then you can load your files back into your computer from your backups. If your files and backups are infected, don't pay the ransom because you may not get your files back, or the ransomware may attack again. In addition, your money enables the criminal to continue his activities.

The above tips will reduce your risk of becoming a victim and will make recovery from such an attack less painful. If you were impacted by the Equifax breach, keep  these tips in mind to further protect yourself.  Finally, remember that the Illinois Consumer Protection Attorneys at Koester & Bradley are here to help should you become a victim of Cyber Attack. 

Recovering for Personal Injuries From Defective Products and Devices in Illinois




There are many Dangerous Products on the Market in Illinois.  Here are the Key Illinois Personal Injury Factors to Remember.

 Each time you shop and make purchases in Illinois and across the country, you are afforded certain rights and protections.  Many of these protections are the result of Illinois State or Federal Laws. If you purchase a product that was defective, dangerous, or improperly made, and caused you to sustain a personal injury, you have the right to file certain claims to receive the compensation and justice you deserve.  Our Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer team at Koester & Bradley will provide you with a brief overview of product liability claims and what you need to know as you go through the process.

Three General Types of Product LIability Claims in Illinois

There are three different types of product liability claims. The first is a pharmaceutical claim. This is when medication contains a harmful ingredient that could cause harm to your health.  Examples of these types of claims are the defective drugs Xarelto and Pradaxa which bad drug lawyers at Koester & Bradley are actively pursuing.

The second is the product manufacturing or design flaw claim. This could be a manufacturing or design flaw that causes injury. For example, a faulty cord on a blow dryer or faulty brakes on your car that caused your injury fall into this category.  Additionally the dangerous and recalled knees and hips produced by DePuy and Stryker are defectively designed and manufactured.  

The third is a marketing defect. This is when a company makes promises about their product that are untrue. This includes inadequate safety warnings, improper labeling or insufficient instructions. If the knowledge you have on how to use a product is incorrect and it causes your injury, the manufacturer or company could be at fault.  The State of Illinois regulates these types of claims as does the Federal Government and the regulations can be very complex.  This is why Koester & Bradley recommends hiring an experienced product liability lawyer locally to assist you.

You May be Entitled to Compensation for your Injuries in Illinois

If you feel that one of the above defects is enough to file a product liability claim, you can commence legal action. It's best to  contact us for more information and set up a consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your incident. There are many components that go into a product liability claim, so it's best to seek legal representation from those who are experienced in  personal injury lawsuits for your best chances of success.

Beware of these Scams that Target the Elderly





Across Illinois, Scams and Cyber Threats are Targeting Seniors.  Here are a few You Should Know About

Scams that target the elderly never seem to end.  With the notice and attention that is given to cybersecurity and crimes such as identity theft, it is important to understand that "conventional" and lower-tech scams are still prevalent--particularly regarding senior citizens in central Ill and across the country.  At Koester & Bradley, LLP, we do our best to monitor all potential threats to our clients and community as Illinois personal injury and fraud lawyers.  Here are some more scams that target senior citizens.  Let us know if you are aware of any others to add to the list.

Fake Anti-Aging Products
Elderly people, especially women, often feel a need to look younger. This is a result of social and peer pressure. Scammers target seniors with fake or low-quality anti-aging products. They may not work, may be overpriced, or may have hidden fees -- for example, they may offer a one-month discount option without disclosing that they will be charged exorbitant fees for monthly deliveries after that.  Many of these drugs are actually harmful and dangerous products.

Fake Prescription Drugs
Similar to fake anti-aging products. These fake prescription drugs are cheap, and can often be found on the internet. They may cost less, but they may not work and may even be dangerous.  There are many drugs and devices that are actually prescribed by doctors that are also dangerous to seniors in Illinois such as Xarelto and Pradaxa, so it is wise to avoid subjecting yourself or a loved one to any drug not discussed with a healthcare professional. 

Grandchild Scam
The grandchild scam involves someone telephoning a caring grandparent and pretending to be a beloved grandchild. They can find out the names of their grandchildren from social media. During the phone call, they'll use low-quality audio to conceal their voice, and they will cry about how they are in trouble or in debt and need money to bail themselves out. They'll often say that they can not call their "parents" because their "parents" will be angry at them.

Other Scams
Elderly people who live alone are especially vulnerable to all kinds of phone, mail and cyber scams, such as fake charity scams, fake lottery tickets, fake antivirus companies and so on. Make sure to warn your loved one about these common scams.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of fraud,  contact us today for legal help.  Finally, remember that it is always worth investigation a scam if you or a loved one were a victim even if not sure of all of the details and the legality of the situation.  This is the way that new law is made.
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Consumer Protection and Fraud: Protect Yourself From Browser Security Threats




Cybersecurity has gained more publicity in light of recent hacks.  Here is what you can do.

Koester & Bradley Cybersecurity Attorneys

At Koester & Bradley we have focused our practice on helping the injured since 1895, but we also devote a great deal of time to consumer protection issues as well.  While physical personal injuries often have traumatic and lasting impact on the lives of entire families, financial and fraud-related claims can also have a severe impact.  

With cyber threats coming from a variety of sources, Koester & Bradley is dedicated to making sure our clients and community are continually kept up-to-date.

The Internet is full of threats, and if you're a long-time user of it, then you probably know not to click on suspicious links, to stay away from potentially dangerous sites such as porn and pirated movie websites. You may also understand that even websites that have no intent to do harm may fail to vet the safety of their advertisements. That is, clicking on their ads may send you to a dangerous website. However, even these precautions aren't enough for safe Internet use. The reason? Your browser itself may have security weaknesses that leave you vulnerable.

Cyber criminals are untiring in their search for ways to find and exploit loopholes in the software makeup of popular browsers. An example of this occurred earlier in 2017 when attackers used domain names with Unicode characters to set up  phony versions of popular and trusted websites. When viewed in the Chrome and Firefox browsers, the phony website and its URL appeared identical to the real site. Criminals can also obtain SSL certificates (with a green padlock) to make their websites appear legit.

All popular browsers respond to these types of threats by issuing updates that correct the problem. Therefore, the main takeaway from this is to keep your browser up to date. If it has an auto-update feature, make sure it's activated. Another precaution is to review the privacy and security settings for your browser. One setting you should deactivate is the password saving feature that many browsers offer.

Another security threat comes from using browser plugins or extensions. These give your browser extra functionality but are created by third parties who might be untrustworthy. Your best defense is never installing them. Otherwise, you should install as few as possible. Look for online reviews of the plugins you're considering. These reviews should also provide a rating. A rating based on thousands of votes is more reliable than one based on a few. Check the reviews for mentions of malware and other security problems.

Finally, create a Google alert for news about your browser's security. This will keep you informed of the latest threats to watch for.

Use the above tips to make your Internet browsing as safe as possible. For more information or to speak to one of our lawyers,  contact us.

Practical Measures for the Equifax Dilemma



With the recent hacking of Equifax, personal information of over 143 million Americans were compromised.  Identity thieves gaining access to an individual’s credit report allows them to open new accounts in the victims’ names.  A credit freeze is a security method that restricts access to an individual’s credit report.  New creditors would not be able to see your file and therefore would not be able to approve a new account and extend credit.  Under a credit freeze, existing creditors and debt collectors would still be allowed access to your credit report.  Government agencies may also have access to your frozen credit report with the use of a court or administrative order, a subpoena or a search warrant.  

A credit freeze will not prevent an identity thief from making charges to your existing accounts.  You should continue the process of monitoring all credit card, bank transactions and insurance statements to screen for fraudulent transactions.  A credit freeze does not affect your credit score and will not prevent you from acquiring your free annual credit report.  A credit freeze will also not stop you from opening a new account, applying for a job, buying insurance or renting a home but you will be required to lift the freeze temporarily for a specific time or to specific parties in order for these actions to be approved.  A credit freeze will not stop an individual from getting pre-screened offers of credit.  To opt out of pre-screened offers of credit for 5 years or permanently, you can call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or access the following website, www.optoutprescreen.com.  

You can place a free on your credit reports by contacting nationwide credit reporting companies such as Experian (1-888-397-3742) and TransUnion (1-888-909-8872).  You will be required to provide your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, current address and other personal information.  The fee associated with placing a credit freeze is between $5 to $10.  Each credit reporting company will send you a confirmation letter for your freeze request containing a personal identification number (PIN) or password.  You will need the PIN or password if you choose to lift the freeze at a later date.  
A credit freeze will remain in place until you request the credit reporting company to temporarily lift or completely remove it.  The cost of lifting a credit freeze varies by state.  The freeze must be lifted no later than 3 business days after the credit company receives your request.  

CREDIT FREEZE VS FRAUD ALERT: There is a major difference and trade off between protection and convenience.

We have compiled the most relevant differences to keep in mind when taking action

Credit Freeze
  • Will lock down your credit.
  • Can prevent someone from opening an account but will not prevent charges to existing accounts.
  • Fees associated with request for credit freeze.
  • Fees associate with temporary lift or permanent lift of credit freeze.
  • Obtained by calling nationwide credit reporting companies such as Experian (1-888-397-3742) and TransUnion (1-888-909-8872).  

Fraud Alert

  • Allows creditors access to your credit report provided they take the necessary steps to verify your identity.
  • Can prevent someone from opening an account but will not prevent charges to existing accounts.
  • Initial Fraud Alert - protects an individual’s credit accounts from unverified access for at least 90 days.  This alert is used for individuals have not yet been victims of identity theft but would like additional protection.  
  • Extended Fraud Alert – protects an individual’s credit accounts for 7 years.  This alert is specifically for victims of identity theft.
  • Active Military Fraud Alert – protects active military member’s credit accounts during deployment for 1 year.  
  • No fees associated with this service.
  • Obtained by calling nationwide credit reporting companies such as Experian (1-888-397-3742) and TransUnion (1-888-909-8872).  The nationwide credit report company must then tell your other credit reporting companies of your request and they will then place a fraud alert on their versions of your credit report.

As with any issue relating to credit and cyber security, being proactive and moving quickly is vital.   Attorneys are investigating the matter and are always here to answer questions.

Consumer Protection and Fraud Bill Helping Student Loan Borrowers in Illinois



Despite the problems caused the lack of a state budget and the resulting disarray, Illinois has proven unwilling to wait for reform at the federal level, and has joined several other states considering laws that would protect student loan borrowers and heighten penalties against scammers targeting these individuals. With over $1.4 trillion in debt owed by approximately 44 million Americans and the Illinois Attorney General reporting that student borrower complaints have increased dramatically in the last several years, the new law would provide much needed protections. 

Illinois is considering passing a Student Loan Bill of Rights law. This law would require loan servicers to obtain a license in the state, which would allow for greater oversight in the state. Additionally, a special ombudsman would be created to act on complaints that residents made. The law is aimed at preventing fraud and abuse from loan servicers. 

The state Attorney General has noted that Illinois borrowers often have problems making their loan payments. Her office has received  complaints from residents that loan servicers failed to inform them of affordable repayment options, to answer their questions in a consistent manner to follow borrower payment instructions. Due to the lack of information that many borrowers have from their loan servicers, scam artists may set up exploitative mechanisms that make false promises in exchange for large fees. The student loan crisis is being readily compared to the housing crisis.

If passed, the law would require loan servicers to properly process payments, to explain all of the repayment options available to borrowers and when borrowers may be able to get their loans forgiven. A number of more affordable options may be available to borrowers, such as deferment, forbearance, loan forgiveness or a repayment plan. Loan servicers would be prohibited from misleading borrowers. 
Consumer fraud and protection lawyers may be able to assist individuals who are being defrauded by their creditors. They may pursue action on behalf of clients who receive harassing communications or who need debt relief. For more information on how consumer fraud and protection lawyers,  contact us.

Ryan Bradley

Ryan Bradley works with many Illinois and National Consumers to protect their rights from the grasp of big business.

More Transparency for Credit Cards




The Rules for Credit Card Companies have changed; what do Illinois consumers need to know?

Illinois Consumer Attorneys Koester & Bradley

The Federal Government's new rules for credit card companies are good news for anybody who currently uses a credit card.  Starting on February 22, 2010 your credit card company must be far more forthcoming with how it will try to take your money.

When the company decides to increase your rate or other fees (and it can do this for no real reason) it must now send you a notice 45 days before the event takes place. Furthermore, if your credit card company is planning to alter the terms of your card, it must give you the option to cancel the card before certain fee increases take effect. But beware, the company may close your account and increase your monthly payment.

Starting with your most recent statement, your monthly credit card bill will include information on how long it will take you to pay off your balance if you only make minimum payments. It will also tell you how much you would need to pay each month in order to pay off your balance in three years.

The company will also have to provide two more warnings, For example:

Late Payment Warning: If we do not receive your minimum payment by the date listed above, you may have to pay a $35 late fee and your APRs may be increased up to the Penalty APR of 28.99%.

Minimum Payment Warning: If you make only the minimum payment each period, you will pay more in interest and it will take you longer to pay off your balance.

For example:
New rules regarding rates, fees, and limits are also in place and include the following:

No interest rate increases for the first year. Your credit card company cannot increase your rate for the first 12 months after you open an account. There are some exceptions: If your card has a variable interest rate tied to an index; your rate can go up whenever the index goes up.  It is important to monitor rates. If there is an introductory rate, it must be in place for at least 6 months; after that your rate can revert to the rate the company disclosed when you got the card. If you are more than 60 days late in paying your bill, your rate can go up.  Don't be late.  Increased rates apply only to new charges. If your credit card company does raise your interest rate after the first year, the new rate will apply only to new charges you make. If you have a balance, your old interest rate will apply to that balance. Restrictions are placed on over-the-limit transactions.  If you opt-in to allowing transactions that take you over your credit limit, your credit card company can impose only one fee per billing cycle. You can revoke your opt-in at any time. The new law also changes billing cycles and protections for credit card users under the age of 21.

Some exceptions apply to the above-stated measures and it is important for anybody who uses credit cards to read the new material provided by the company and to visit websites from the Federal Reserve.

Feel free to contact Champaign Urbana c onsumer fraud attorneys Koester & Bradley if you have any questions or wish to  submit your case .

By: Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

Tom Koester is a consumer fraud and financial attorney at the Koester & Bradley Law Firm in Champaign Illinois.

Illinois Plaintiffs Lawyer Personal Injury Blog by Koester & Bradley, LLP 

Legal News and safety tips with Illinois Impact from the Accident and Personal Injury Firm Koester & Bradley, LLP


Ryan R Bradley is a personal injury and litigation lawyer based in Champaign County Illinois focused on representing injured clients and businesses navigate the maze of litigation to financial recovery.  

Tom Koester is a personal injury attorney based in Champaign County in Central Illinois focused on representing the injured and victims of Medical Malpractice and Personal Injuries.