Visit Houston to learn more about your legal rights

If you can be in Houston on Saturday, Sept. 29, take time to learn much more about the law. During the past 25 years, more than 50,000 people have learned about their legal rights and liabilities at a session of “The People’s Law School.” The largest and oldest program of its kind in the country, the People’s Law School is deigned to give you valuable information about the law that you can use to help avoid and resolve disputes. Best of all, it is absolutely free.

Sept. 29, the Center for Consumer Law at the University of Houston Law Center will present the latest session of the People’s Law School. There will be classes in 14 different areas of law on everything from consumer law and debt collection, family law, basic business and landlord/tenant rights. We also teach classes in finding the law on the Internet and using small claims court, as well as specialists teaching you about bankruptcy, health insurance, employment and immigration law.

The People’s Law School will be held at the Law Center on the main campus of the University of Houston. Everyone may select three courses to attend. As I said, the program is free, but you must register in advance attend. To register or get more information, go to Class begin promptly at 9 a.m., but arrive early for complimentary coffee and donuts. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Q. I have turned around my financial situation and now can afford to pay all my bills. I am still having trouble getting credit because of information in my credit report. How can I have negative information removed from my report?

A. The law is designed to insure that credit bureaus report accurate information about your financial transactions. Under the law, you have the right to challenge information in your credit report, and demand that the credit bureau investigate and remove inaccurate or incomplete information. On the other hand, if the negative information is accurate, there is no way to have it removed simply because it may hurt you. Credit reporting agencies are in the business of reporting information. All the law requires is that the information they report be accurate and complete, not necessarily favorable. After seven years, however, information becomes obsolete and generally is no longer reported.

Q. Does a store have to honor the price in its advertisement? I went and they said they ran out. Can I force them to give me a rain check?

A. Under the law, an advertisement must either disclose that only a limited number of the item are available, or the store must have enough to meet “reasonable demand.” If the store had sufficient quantity to meet the reasonable demand, there is no requirement in the law that any business must give you a “rain check.” I suggest you read the ad to see if the quantity was limited. Then, speak with a manager if you feel the store did not have a reasonable supply of the product.

Q. My divorce decree says that my husband is supposed to take our children every other weekend. More often than not, he calls and says he doesn’t want the kids and “I can keep them.” I love my children but this is very disruptive to my schedule. Can I force him to take the children on his weekends? What are my rights?

A. You probably do not have the right to “force him” to take the children. In most cases, a divorce decree gives the right to see the children, rather than imposing an obligation to take them. His failure to exercise his rights, however, may entitle you to additional child support. I suggest you talk with the attorney who handled your divorce to see what options may be available. 

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