Attorney Andrea Bopp Stark was appointed as the Maine state chair of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. The National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) is a nationwide organization of more than 1,500 attorneys who represent and have represented hundreds of thousands of consumers victimized by fraudulent, abusive and predatory business practices.
Attorney Bopp Stark is one of these attorneys who have been helping consumers in unfair debt collection, wrongful foreclosure, and inaccurate credit reporting cases for over 10 of the 19 years she has been practicing.
Attorney Bopp Stark's membership and now leadership in NACA has helped her connect with thousands of attorneys doing similar work to access strategies and support to better assist our clients.
From the NACA website, www.consumeradvocates.org:
NACA takes an active role in advocating consumer interests before the Courts, Congress and Administrative agencies. We advocate in support of pro-consumer legislation and regulatory action and in opposition to erosion of existing rights. We have filed amicus briefs in a number of leading consumer protection cases before the United States Supreme Court and other courts across the country.
- NACA and its members have taken a lead role in founding and coordinating the "Give Me Back My Rights Campaign," a collective effort of consumer, civil, and employment rights groups to end the use of binding mandatory arbitration in contracts imposed by corporations on consumers and employees. Early successes include the policy announcement by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to prohibit BMA clauses in any mortgage transactions they purchase as well as the subsequent announcement of several large mortgage banks to do the same.
- NACA and its members regularly testify before Congressional committees and federal regulatory agencies. Recent testimony has included arguing for strong predatory lending legislation that does not interfere with states' rights to further protect their consumers, urging Congress to strengthen consumer's substantive and privacy rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and fighting against any attempt to water down the important consumer rights provided under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- NACA members have spearheaded an effort to protect our nation's military service members from being targeted by financial predators, including payday lending and title/pawn outfits and sleazy car dealers. Besides providing litigation support to private attorneys and military lawyers attempting to protect our military personnel, NACA has taken on the ambitious task of conducting consumer law training especially designed for military JAG and legal service officers.
- NACA drafted an amendment to the Federal Arbitration Act which that would ban predispute arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. Our draft was incorporated in legislation introduced in both Houses of Congress. We also testified in opposition to mandatory binding arbitration clauses at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.
- NACA played a significant role in drafting legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Carl Levin, and Sen. Richard Bryan, that would provide consumers adequate protection against the unsuspecting purchase of a rebuilt wrecked or severely damaged car. We also worked successfully to defeat the passage of controversial special interest legislation which would have allowed such cars to continue unchecked.
- NACA maintains the comprehensive "Standards and Guidelines for Litigating and Settling Consumer Class Actions" 176 F.R.D. 375 (published in 1998, fully updated in 2006) in an effort to ensure that the occasional and limited misuse of the class action device does not lead to restrictions on the ability of this procedure to challenge abusive business practices. The paper addresses the propriety of class actions when individual recoveries are small, the questionability of coupon settlements, settlements when other class actions are on file, additional compensation to named plaintiffs, the scope of class member releases, cy pres awards, attorneys fees, and improved notice of settlement.