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News From Georgia Watch

July 12, 2016
In This Issue
Annual Gala
Help "Stop the Debt Trap"
Tax Prep Dangers
We're Hiring!
Bringing Advocates and Employers Together
In the News
Quick Links
Get Updates!
Help us Hit One out of the Ballpark for Consumer Champions!
Please plan to join Georgia Watch for our 
on October 13, 2016 at Turner Field.

 Sponsorship opportunities are available

Contact Liz Coyle at 404-525-1085 or for more information.
Georgia Watch works to "Stop the Debt Trap"
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released proposed rules that, if strengthened, could rein in the worst abuses of payday and car title lending. Though payday lenders were forced out of our state years ago, we still need a strong national rule that also reins in harmful title pawn lending practices. 

Georgia Watch asks for your support in calling for  a strong rule to stop these predatory practices.  Click below to leave your comment!

Georgia Watch warns of tax prep dangers
Georgia Watch has released its  final report in the 'secret shopper' study exploring paid tax preparation in Southwest Atlanta. Our researchers went undercover to twenty locations preparing taxes in Southwest Atlanta.  In nearly every scenario, discrepancies and evidence of improperly prepared taxes were found

"People have no idea what level of education these people have, how honest they are, what they're really going to do with their personal information and whether or not they'll file their taxes accurately," says Liz Coyle, Georgia Watch's Executive Director.

Currently in Georgia, no licensure or training requirements exist for tax preparers. "It's a tremendous problem," says Coyle.  "We absolutely want Georgia to put in place some common sense regulations of this industry."
Georgia Watch is Hiring!
Georgia Watch seeks a confident and passionate professional to serve as Program Manager. Please see our website for full the posting. Interested candidates should submit a resume, cover letter and writing sample by email to Executive Director Liz Coyle at by August 1. The posting will be open until the position is filled.
Win for Consumers in Bickerstaff v. SunTrust 
In their July 8th decision, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the Georgia Court of Appeals ruling preventing Jeff Bickerstaff Jr. from representing similarly situated consumers in a class action lawsuit against SunTrust Bank. The Court held that SunTrust's contractual provision forcing arbitration does not prevent Bickerstaff from representing his fellow consumers. Bickerstaff, was represented by the law firm Bondurant Mixson & Elmore. 

As outlined in a "friend-of-the-court" brief submitted to the Georgia Supreme Court by Georgia Watch and the National Consumer Law Center, this decision will prevent companies, insurance carriers, and banks from immunizing themselves from class actions that assert claims arising under contracts by simply including pre-litigation or pre-suit demand requirements into those contracts.  The Georgia Supreme Court's decision significantly increases consumers' access to courts, bolstering their ability to protect themselves through class action lawsuits.  
Community Health Improvement discussion  brings advocates and employers together
On June 29, nearly 100 attendees from across the state, joined Georgia Watch and other advocates, employers, and public health at Savannah Technical College to discuss community health improvement activities in Savannah and beyond.  
Panelists discussed the incredible work of the Savannah collaboratives and innovative employer-based initiatives focused on encouraging employee health.  Advocates in attendance discussed their role in community health improvement.  We are grateful to our partners, particularly the Savannah Business Group, for their support to make this meeting possible!
Georgia Watch In the News