Lawyering the Lawyers and Protecting the Consumers
Debt collectors and their reps……….be warned. The Feds are coming. Too often debtors and consumers feel overwhelmed and as if they have no rights. Well, we just received more confirmation that consumers do have rights and rules still apply when debts are being collected. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last month filed its first lawsuit against a debt-collection firm, Marietta, Ga.-based Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, accusing it of violating federal consumer-protection laws. You can read the lawsuit here.
Allegations in the case include having non-lawyers determine if lawsuits v consumers were “worthy”, having non-lawyers review the vital case information, and filing suits versus the wrong parties. This case could unearth some nefarious practices or problematic approaches taken by law firms that seek to recover debts.
In fairness, there are many law firms and collectors who follow the spirit and the letter of the law and they should be commended for such. However, as with any proverbial bunch of apples there are a few whose flaws threaten to spoil the entire bunch. Let’s hope the CFPB lawsuit is a wake-up call to law firms and collectors to play by the rules.
If you believe you are being treated illegally or unfairly in the collection of a debt contact an experienced consumer lawyer for a consultation.