Posts Tagged: ‘Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’

Federal Trade Commission Bans Three Scammers from Posing as Debt Collectors

December 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A settlement has been reached with three defendants who allegedly posed as lawyers and falsely threatened to sue consumers, even have them arrested for failing to pay on debts they did not owe. The settlement resolves an FTC complaint filed in July 2017, alleging that the defendants told consumers they were attorneys or calling from a law firm and that a lawsuit had been filed or would soon be filed against them for an unpaid debt.  We originally wrote a blog on the topic, entitled: FTC Shuts Down Debt Collector for Allegedly Threatening Lawsuits.

The FTC alleged the defendants Hardco Holding Group LLC, S&H Financial Group Inc. and Daryl M. Hall (DBA- Alliance Law Group) threatened consumers with prison time and claimed police would show up at their home and arrest them if the debt was not paid.  The threats and harassment on the so called, “phantom debt” are all a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

According to the settlement order, the defendants are banned from ever participating in debt collection activities, buying or selling consumer or commercial debt, and trading in consumer information related to a debt. They are also prohibited from making misrepresentations about any product or service, profiting from consumers’ personal information obtained from any debt collection activities, and failing to dispose of consumers’ information properly.  The order imposes a $702,059 judgment that will be partially suspended upon the surrender of certain assets.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Federal Judge Sides with Debtor Finds Law Firm’s Debt Collection Notice “Misleading”

November 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the Law Offices of Frederic I. Weinberg & Associates’ motion for summary judgment and granted plaintiff Ronn Homer’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the law firm in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in its validation notices.

“We conclude that the validation notice in this case violates the FDCPA because it misleads and deceives the debtor about how and when to dispute the debt,” Savage wrote in his opinion on November 9, 2017. “The notice leads the debtor to believe that he may dispute the debt orally when only a written notice of dispute is effective. It also requires the debtor to act to dispute the debt in less time than the FDCPA provides.”

The crux of the case was in the meaning of a sentence in the debt collection notice: “Unless we hear from you within 30 days after receipt of this letter that you dispute the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, this office will assume the debt is valid,” said Savage.

The plaintiff alleged that the notice creates confusion about how to dispute the debt and the timeframe in which to do so. He argued that the letter misleads the debtor into believing that the law firm must receive the notice of dispute within 30 days rather than that the debtor must send the notice within that timeframe.

In the end, the debtor prevailed and the judge concluded, “The letter here is misleading.  It creates the impression that the debtor can dispute the debt by calling the debt collector. The phrase ‘[u]nless we hear from you’ imparts the understanding that the debtor can dispute the validity of the debt orally. Contrary to Weinberg’s characterization, ‘hears from you’ is not a colloquial phrase that a reasonable debtor, let alone a least sophisticated debtor, would construe to mean that a dispute must be in writing,” Savage said.

Click here read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

What is Considered Harassment by a Debt Collector?

October 19, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors cannot harass, oppress or abuse consumers or anyone else they contact. Harassment by a debt collector can come in different forms.

Here are some examples of harassment:

  • Repetitious phone calls that are intended to annoy, abuse or harass you or any person answering the phone
  • The use of obscene or profane language
  • Threats or violence or harm
  • Publishing lists of people who refuse to pay their debts
  • Calling you without telling you who they are
  • Threats of arrest
  • Calling you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

If you have been harassed by a debt collector, you can sue for violations of the FDCPA. If you sue and win, the debt collector must pay your attorney’s fees and may also have to pay damages.

Debt collectors are also prohibited from using false, deceptive or misleading practices including misrepresentations about the debt.

Here are some examples of misrepresentations of debt:

  • The amount owed
  • That the person is an attorney if they are not
  • False threats to have you arrested
  • Threats to do things that cannot legally be done
  • Threats to do things that the debt collector has no intention of doing

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-harassment-by-a-debt-collector-en-336/

http://timothykingcade.com/?p=6622

Motion Denied After Creditor Attempts to Reopen Miami Bankruptcy Case and Seize Home

September 26, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade and associate Kristina Gonzalez of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. achieved a recent victory for their clients after a creditor, Bank of New York Mellon (“BONY”), attempted to re-open their 2009 bankruptcy case and compel the surrender of their Miami home.

“With this ruling, I am pleased to announce that my clients will be able to keep their home.  BONY made the decision to abandon its foreclosure efforts and enter into modification negotiations with my clients. It was seven years after my clients received their bankruptcy discharge, five years after the initial foreclosure was dismissed and only after those modification efforts proved unsuccessful that they filed the second foreclosure, based on new post-bankruptcy discharge defaults,” Timothy S. Kingcade said.

BONY waited more than a year after the second foreclosure was filed to seek to reopen the bankruptcy case, and only filed the motion when the bankruptcy debtor filed an action in District Court against the creditor’s loan servicer, Specialized Loan Servicing, for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In a consumer win for bankruptcy clients, the Honorable Laurel M. Isicoff ruled that there was “no purpose” in re-opening the bankruptcy case because the debtors’ decision to surrender the property was not binding in the subsequent foreclosure action.

Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade practices exclusively in the field of bankruptcy law, handling Chapter 7 and 13 filings and foreclosure defense cases for the Southern District of Florida.  As an experienced CPA and proven bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of their rights under the bankruptcy laws to restart, rebuild and recover.

Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. was established by managing partner and bankruptcy attorney, Timothy S. Kingcade in 1996. The firm represents clients throughout the State of Florida in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases. The firm is committed to providing personalized service to each and every client, clearly explaining the options according to the unique circumstances of his or her life. The office environment and the service provided are centered on a culture of superior client care for the financially disenfranchised. All partners and associates at Kingcade Garcia McMaken P.A. specialize in consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure and have dedicated their practices to this area of the law. Additionally, all attorneys and staff members at the firm are bilingual speaking Spanish.

Related Resources:

http://www.flsb.uscourts.gov/Opinions/LMI/09-30656Kurzban.pdf

What Debt Collectors Can and Cannot Do

September 7, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) limits the tactics that debt collectors can take to collect on a debt.  Here are 10 things debt collectors can and cannot do.

5 Things Debt Collectors Cannot Do:

  1. Come to your place of work. It is illegal for a debt collector to come to your workplace to collect on a debt. The FDCPA prohibits a debt collector publicizing your debts and showing up at your place of work to collect on a debt.
  2. Harass you. Harassment can come in a variety of forms and include: repeated phone calls, threats of violence, publishing information about you, abusive or obscene language.
  3. Arrest you for debt. You cannot be arrested for a debt you owe.
  4. Purse you for a debt you do not owe. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can lead to a debt collector pursuing the wrong person for payment.  The issue is not uncommon, but it is illegal.
  5. Call you at any time. It is illegal for debt collectors to call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. You can request that a debt collector stop calling you, but your obligation to pay still remains.

 

5 Things Debt Collectors Can Do:

  1. Seek payment on an expired debt. Even debts that expired according to the statute of limitations can still be requested from debt collectors.  These unsecured debts can include credit cards and medical bills.  Remember: You cannot be sued for payment on these expired debts.
  2. Pressure you. While debt collectors cannot threaten you, they can apply pressure to collect payment.  Pressure can include daily calls, frequent letters or talk about pursuing a lawsuit for payment.
  3. Sue you for payment on a debt. A debt collector can sue you for non-payment. These type lawsuits can result in wage garnishment, bank levies or both.  It is best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you are sued or there is a judgment entered against you in regard to an outstanding debt.
  4. Sell your debt. A collector can resell debt it has not been able to collect on. So if one debt collector stops contacting you about a debt, do not be surprised if another starts.
  5. Negotiate what you owe. Because debt collectors buy debts for sometimes pennies on the dollar, they have fairly large profit margins if they collect the original amount owed. This gives them more flexibility in negotiating payment. You may be able to negotiate a settlement for 25% or 30% of what you originally owed.  Remember, to get the agreement in writing so you have proof that the amount paid was all that was required in the settlement.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/things-debt-collectors-cannot-do/