In today's complex and fast-moving financial and sales marketplaces, many seniors are unaware that they have any legal rights to assert. And even if they believe there has been a miscarriage of justice, seniors living on fixed incomes lack the financial means to hire a private attorney. In the 4th quarter of 2017 alone, Legal Aid opened consumer law cases for 17 seniors from as far north as Daly City to as far south as San Gregorio. The median age of this client population was 72 and 88% spoke English. With help from Legal Aid, senior consumers recovered $12,406, including a senior named Mr. Johnson.*
When Mr. Johnson and his daughter came to Legal Aid, he was 96 years old and living on a small Social Security payment, supplemented by a reverse mortgage. Unbeknownst to his daughter, when Mr. Johnson was 92 he had purchased a used car at a price just under MSRP from a rental car company without telling his family. The company gave him a six year loan and sold him an additional service contract, even though the car was still covered by the manufacturer's warranty. Significantly, the company had failed to give Mr. Johnson all of the required disclosures.
Although it was a strain on his finances, Mr. Johnson had been making the payments. When Mr. Johnson's daughter learned about the car, she was concerned that her father should not be driving anymore and could not really afford the car payments. Mr. Johnson wanted to know whether the rental car company would cancel the remainder of the loan payments.
After their meeting, Legal Aid Consulting Attorney Scott Maurer wrote a letter to the rental car company demanding rescission of the loan and a refund for payments made. The rental car company sent the issue to their lawyers, who pushed back. After several rounds of negotiation, the rental car company agreed to end the loan and refund $4,284 to Mr. Johnson, in exchange for his returning the car. Mr. Johnson was relieved to get so much of his money back. In gratitude to Mr. Maurer, Mr. Johnson and his daughter brought heartfelt gifts of food to Legal Aid.
Thanks to the generous support of donors like you, Legal Aid continues to help other senior consumers just like Mr. Johnson.
* names have been changed to protect confidentiality