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23 Sep 2019

9.23.19 Forced arbitration clauses stink; Government database breaches; Best time to buy a home

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Post by MoneyRadio Staff

This summer came reports that cell phone carriers have been tracking and selling consumer location info. Lawsuits have been filed against AT&T for this practice, selling to 2 partners without consumers’ knowledge. But AT&T is hiding behind the arbitration clause buried inside consumer contracts, even though they’ve engaged in  illegal activity. Clark is diametrically opposed to mandatory arbitration. If both parties are for it, fine. But ALL – 100% of arbitration forums between a business and consumer or employee are rigged in the company’s favor. The U.S. House just last Friday approved a bill outlawing mandatory arbitration – which is fantastic. The Senate remains a question mark. We live in a society where the deck is stacked with unfair rules against consumers and employees. The bigs have too much power and use it to our detriment. Kangaroo court arbitration is a manifestation of that. Hopefully, the Senate will follow the House lead. AT&T broke the law and it’s reprehensible they hide behind arbitration. 

Arstechnica reports the hack of city & state government payment portals, compromising people’s credit cards in all 50 states. If you use such a government portal – do NOT use a debit or enter your checking account info. If you pay on a gov portal, use a credit card. Credit cards have protections debits do not. Yahoo mail had a massive data breach and settlement info is now coming out for those with Yahoo email between 2013-2016. Watch for your class action notice and make a claim if this affects you.

This data is based on the scarcity of buyers post Labor Day, while the number of homes available isn’t much less than the peak season from March to May. In many areas, an agent listing agreement runs for 6 months. Clark sees a more important bargain window November thru mid-January. That 11 week period is potentially the ultimate bargain week for buyers. It’s true there are fewer properties listed for that time period.  They may be listed for many reasons – estate sales, job transfers, divorce – people problem sales, which put the seller in a weakened position, outside normal cycles. During the holidays, the number of people looking to buy drops dramatically. But there are still wounded duck properties on the market. Clark believes the greatest opportunity to get a deal is late fall through early winter. That’s when a buyer looking for a bargain will find it.

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