Shopping Reform & Modernization Act Claims

Were you shopping and realized after you paid, that you were overcharged? You may have a “scanner law” claim. Thousands of Michigan consumers are overcharged daily putting money in the deep pockets of super centers, pharmacies, and smaller chains, such as Meijer, Rite Aid, and Dollar General.

If you think you have been overcharged, go back to where the item was stocked and take another look at the displayed price. If you can, take a photo of it. If you think you may have a claim, let a store representative know. Ask to be given the difference in the price displayed and the price charged, and ask for your scanner law bonus. Many stores will not offer the bonus, so make sure to specifically inquire. If they need time to investigate (the law requires they pay within 48 hours, so they have a small window of time to investigate), or if they deny your bonus, insist on giving them your name, phone number and address so that they can send you your money in the mail.

Stores make an enormous amount of money through overcharging.  The store thinks that you won’t follow-up, so the general policy is to deny you your bonus and save $5.00!

Go home and document the event, including the name of the persons involved, and the reason why they denied the claim.

Contact WALSH LAW PLLC and we will easily process your claim for you.

Additional relevant articles by Attorney Renee Walsh:
Scanner Law
Scanner Law Update

Deceptive Websites – Facades of Legitimacy

WE PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM FRAUD AND DECEPTION.

When it comes to evaluating whether consumers should buy from a particular website, consumers really should do their research. The Internet has given rise to a new field in the law of unfair competition protecting businesses and consumers from deceptive and wrongful business practices. Intentionally confusing consumers as to the source of a product or service and using false or misleading advertising and falsely representing ones products or services is illegal. Businesses using the internet must be prevented from using deception to build their reputation and bolster their internet presence.

Before buying a product or a service from a website, be aware that the site may be built upon stolen content which is spun to look unique, fake press releases, fake social profiles and reviews of “satisfied customers” touting the product or services, puffery, and misleading statements and omitted information necessary to make an informed decision. The business may also purchase software to build links to the website and increase its internet presence. This deception is then contained in web pages and websites linked together in a massive network of deception for the purpose of creating an impression of integrity and transparency to induce a purchase.

This type of behavior is considered “black hat” search engine optimization or SEO. In some cases it arises to a world-wide illegal internet marketing scheme. These “black hat” efforts not only trick the search engines into inflating the rank of the target website, but also trick the public and consumers into buying the products and services advertised. Such practices violate state and federal laws protecting consumers.

Especially when considering a purchase of substance, such as with the Iraqi Dinar, which is to be transacted over the internet from a seemingly reputable website, BUYER BEWARE!

We can help you determine if the website you are considering is legitimate. We have the resources to peel away layers of deception. We will make sure you are treated fairly.

Additional Resources:

Unauthorized Recording

Perhaps you have wanted to record a phone conversation or video taped someone in your house, and wondered whether this is permitted by law. Alternatively, perhaps you have been the subject of an unauthorized video or telephone recording, and want to know your rights. Both the federal law and Michigan law apply. The federal law is codified at 18 USC §2510 et. seq, while Michigan law is codified at MCL §750.539c et. seq.

The federal law provides for a 5-year felony for recording telephone conversations except in cases in which the state allows only one person to the conversation to consent. Michigan’s MCL §750.539c provides for a 2-year felony / $2,000.00 fine for willfully recording a “private conversation” without each party’s consent. Under §750.539d, it is also a crime to video record or photograph a person in a “private place”, without the person’s consent. A private place is one in which the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy and as such, a place to which the public also has access is not a private place. Accordingly, dissemination of prohibited recordings is also a violation of law with a 5-year felony / $5,000.00 as punishment.

There are exceptions to the law for residences monitored for security purposes unless the monitoring is conducted for a lewd or lascivious purpose (MCL §750.539d(2)) and this would come with a 2 year felony / $2,000.00 fine which is aggravated for previous convictions. Police officers on duty, common carriers, public utilities, and state correctional facilities are also excepted under the law. See MCL §750.539g.

In Michigan, we turn attention on the participation involved in the private conversation. If you are personally participating in the conversation, then you may benefit from Michigan’s one-party consent rule. The notion that participants cannot eavesdrop on their own conversations was presented in Sullivan v. Gray, 117 Mich. App. 476 (1982), in which the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the eavesdropping statute does not apply to a participant in a private conversation, because eavesdropping is defined as the overhearing or recording of “the private discourse of others.”

If you have been recorded and want to pursue the matter in court, look to 18 USC § 2520 for federal recovery of civil damages; and to MCL §750.539h at the state level. You may request an injunction by a court of record prohibiting further eavesdropping, actual damages against the person who eavesdrops, and punitive damages as determined by the court or by a jury.

“Someone stole my website!”

Someone to whom you entrusted your website business – your former employee or independent contractor – has hacked your website and hijacked your traffic. Not only that, he has locked you out of your website so that you can’t stop him! He has used the information he gained while in a position of trust, to access administrative privileges, shut you out, and take your customers. Then, he redirected your website traffic to another site. You want to stop him and make him pay for the damage he caused. What can you do?

In order to stop him, you are going to need someone familiar with computer programming or at least the content management system you are using. This is the person that is going to take steps to shut out the hacker. If all you are interested in doing is stopping him, then you don’t need to be too selective. However, if you want him to pay for what he’s done, then the first person to access your systems should be an expert who knows the procedures for preserving evidence so that a proper forensic examination can be conducted for use in a criminal and/or civil prosecution. This expert should be someone who could provide reliable and credible testimony in court regarding the proper procedures followed.

There is a criminal side and a civil side of going after these hackers. On the criminal side, we think of the federal laws that are involved. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) partner together to solve and prosecute these crimes.

The FBI takes cyber crime seriously with key priorities in computer and network intrusions and fraud. They have an online internet crime complaint center to file a complaint. The FTC protects consumers from deceptive trade practices which injure consumers and competing businesses. It also provides for an online complaint process.

When something like this happens, we think of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is a United States copyright law that provides both civil and criminal penalties for circumvention of copyright protection systems, regardless of whether there is actual infringement. The threat of liability is strong here, in that the law, 17 U.S.C. § 1204 provides for the criminal offense and penalty of $500,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment, for the first offense; and $1,000,000 / 10 years for a subsequent offense. In civil court, the DMCA allows you to request your actual damages or if you prefer, statutory damages of up to $2,500 per act of circumvention.

We want to address the economic injury to your business caused by deceptive or wrongful business practices. Unfair competition and unfair trade practices issues arise, along with the unauthorized use of intangible assets by misappropriation and passing off where consumers believe that the hacker’s goods or services are coming from you. Another form of unfair competition that may be applicable is the use of confidential information by a former employee to solicit customers, theft of trade secrets. The law of unfair competition is governed by state law, however federal law may also apply in the areas of trademarks, copyrights and false advertising.

Conversion and unjust enrichment are also potential claims. Prohibited under Michigan law, conversion applies if your hacker improperly gained access and obtained possession of information belonging to you, and then improperly and under false pretenses downloaded/uploaded or otherwise redirected that information from you and converted it to his own and for his own pecuniary benefit. He would be unjustly enriched at your expense and would be obliged to make restitution.

There is also a claim for any interference with your prospective economic advantage, where there is the existence of a business relationship in which the probability of future economic benefit is more than speculative.

We at Walsh Law PLLC will help you determine the course of action to take, from contacting the culprit by phone or in writing, requesting removal from search engine results, through preparing a complaint with counts that cover your individual scenario to filing a lawsuit. We will get you the results you deserve.