2012 Report on Project Work - Consumer Protections and Housing

The staff of the Justice Center’s Consumer Protections and Housing Project were active at the legislature and in the courts in 2012. Our team of lobbyists and attorneys fight to protect individuals and families from exploitation and profiteering, and to ensure they have a safe, sound, affordable home. The Consumer Protections and Housing Project is dedicated to stopping efforts to rob families of hard-earned assets and to creating protections that support families' hard work to move into the middle class.

Defending North Carolina’s Consumer Protection Laws

For more than a decade, the Justice Center has successfully worked to secure strong consumer protections for the people of North Carolina. In 2012, the Justice Center worked to defend those protections against attacks by special interests.

  • Organized North Carolina military leaders and consumer advocates in a successful effort to stop a bill that would increase rates and fees on loans from finance companies, which frequently target soldiers, low-income people and those with poor credit
  • Worked with legislators and others to defeat a bill that would have allowed scammers to prey on homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure
  • Stopped several bills that would have weakened the rights of tenants

Helping Working Families Protect Assets

The attorneys of the Consumer Protections and Housing Project provide legal representation to victims of deceptive lending and housing practices.

  • Successfully defended homeowners against foreclosure and recovered damages for homeowners and renters who suffered a range of illegal practices
  • Filed a class-action lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest debt-buying companies, alleging unfair debt collection practices
  • Continued to litigate cases against two payday lenders, having already received the largest settlement on record from three other lenders that violated North Carolina’s usury laws

Fighting for a More Accessible Path to Prosperity

The advocates of the Consumer Protections and Housing Project worked with legislators and administrative agencies to protect and strengthen consumer protections in North Carolina.

  • Worked with agencies and other non-profits to fight for more affordable rates for low- income families during the Duke-Progress Energy merger
  • Stopped passage of a bill that would have shifted the liability and responsibility of tenants for the eradication of bedbug infestation
  • Organized protests that helped to stop efforts to bring payday lending back to North Carolina

The Big Challenge for 2013 – Affordable Utilities

Access to affordable energy is fundamental to the well-being of families and communities. Duke Energy (now called Duke Energy Progress) provides power to much of North Carolina and is seeking to substantially increase what working families pay for electricity. Poor and middle-class people in North Carolina simply cannot afford to pay more for electricity. Last year alone, more than 200,000 residences in North Carolina had power disconnected for non-payment of bills. At a time when so many families are struggling to get by and to avoid slipping into poverty, a rate increase is unconscionable.

The Justice Center’s Consumer Protections and Housing Project will work to educate regulators and lawmakers about the effect rate hikes would have on North Carolina families and to expose the truth about the power companies’ already bloated bottom line. Together with our partners, we will seek to ensure that electricity bills don’t push people off the path to prosperity.

Annual Reports on Consumer Protections 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007

Annual Reports on Housing Advocacy 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007