We want to let you know about some of the recent cases we have been involved in, particularly where we have filed lawsuits against companies for abusing consumers in Alabama.
Let us know if you have any questions – you can call us at 205-879-2447 or fill out our contact form on our website.
We filed a wrongful foreclosure case for our client who was sued for ejectment by a trustee. In this case the mortgage company foreclosed on our client and then sued him to kick him out of his house. Since the foreclosure, we believe, was improper, we countersued against Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, which is the trustee of this securitized loan. We also believe that the loan was never properly transferred into the trust which claims that it owns the loan – if this is true then the company foreclosing had no more right to foreclose on our client than you or I would. It will be interesting to see what develops in this case where we have alleged fraud (related to a loan modification) and wrongful foreclosure against Deutsche Bank National Trust and the servicer American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc.
[Also remember you are invited to our free tele seminar on Alabama Wrongful Foreclosures set for January 19, 2010, at 4 pm CST.]
Illegal voicemail cases are very common because it is probably the most common form of violation of federal law.
We sued Leading Edge Recovery Solutions, LLC. Our client has alleged that Leading Edge Recovery Solutions, LLC violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by making illegal calls to our client’s cell phone with pre-recorded messages. These are the messages that are left by a computer rather than a live human being. Normally these calls are made by an “auto dialer” which is a computer or telephone system that automatically places the calls. This is when you get a call and the voice says “Please hold for the next operator” – a sure sign that a computer has called and now it is searching for the next operator who is free to transfer your call to. In this suit our client has alleged that Leading Edge Recovery, Solutions, LLC also made an illegal third party disclosure to the client’s father.
Another illegal voicemail case involves Enhanced Recovery Corporation out of Florida. Our client alleged that this debt collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by refusing to give the proper disclosures when leaving voicemails, including failing to leave the Mini-Miranda (“this is an attempt to collect a debt” and “we are a debt collector”).
In a case filed against The Brachfeld (a/k/a Brachfield) Law Group d/b/a Brachfeld & Associates, PC, a California lawfirm and collection agency, our client alleged that this debt collector violated the TCPA by making a large number of harassing illegal calls to our client’s cell phone. The calls, as is common among debt collectors, used pre-recorded messages and were most likely made with the use of an autodialer or predictive dialer.
We filed an additional lawsuit against Brachfeld Law Group (Brachfeld & Associates, PC) for repeated calls without permission to the consumer’s cell phone using an autodialer and pre-recorded messages. This alleged conduct would violate the TCPA and state law on harassment and invasion of privacy.
A second case against Leading Edge Recovery Solutions, LLC, out of Illinois, was filed by a client alleging, again, that this debt collector illegally used prerecorded messages and/or predictive/autodialers when calling the client’s cell phone. The allegations include that this violates the TCPA.
Harvard Collection Services, Inc., a collection agency out of Illinois, was sued by a client for alleged violations of the FDCPA and the TCPA in the multiple calls to the client’s cell phone looking for someone other than the client. It violates the FDCPA to call a “third party” (anyone other than the consumer who allegedly owes the money) after the third party has said they will not or cannot provide location information to the collector. The complaint alleges that the bill collector used pre-recorded messages and/or autodialer calls against the cell phone of the client.
ARS National Services, Inc, a collection agency out of California, was sued by a client claiming that this debt collector violated the FDCPA by refusing to make the proper disclosures when leaving voicemail messages. It is critical that debt collectors comply with this portion of the law – making disclosures – in whatever form they choose to attempt to collect the debt. They do run the risk, however, of violating the prohibition against third party disclosures when they leave voicemails. While the debt collection industry wrings it hands over this “tough situation” of which law to violate (disclosure laws or third party laws) the courts have provided a simple and elegant solution – don’t leave voicemails. Collect debts without leaving voicemails – there is no God given right to leave a voicemail despite what many collectors would argue….
A Florida collection agency known as Omni Credit Services of Florida, Inc., was sued by a client for violating the FDCPA in the voicemails left which did not contain the proper disclosures, including the Mini Miranda.
J.C. Christensen & Associates, Inc., a Minnesota collection agency, was sued by a client alleging that illegal voicemails were left which violated the FDCPA. The voicemails did not contain the Mini Miranda or other required disclosures according to the lawsuit filed against J.C. Christensen & Associates, Inc.
A client also sued a company that we have sued a number of times – a debt collector from New York known as Creditors Interchange Receivable Management, LLC. This company allegedly called our clients numerous times on the consumer’s cell phone using an autodialer and pre-recorded messages. The consumer alleges he never gave Creditors Interchange or the original creditor the cell phone number and therefore the calls were illegal under the TCPA.
Third party disclosure cases reveal common violations by debt collectors. They love to contact people other than the consumer (or consumer’s spouse) because having your boss or parent or neighbor or ex-mother in law call you after being contacted by a debt collector is very intimidating.
Our client sued Viking Collection Service, Inc., a collection agency out of Minnesota, for allegedly repeatedly calling our client’s parent even after the parent told the collector the consumer did not live there. In our opinion this type of misconduct violates the FDCPA and Alabama law on privacy – this is known as an “Invasion of Privacy” claim in Alabama.
The Pennsylvania debt collector Academy Collection Service, Inc., was sued by a client for its collection activities. The client alleges that Academy Collection Service, Inc. made third party disclosures to someone other than the client in violation of the FDCPA and Alabama state law.
Fair Credit Reporting Act cases deal with the important subject of our credit reports and inaccuracies that either the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and Trans Union) or furnishers (such as Bank of America, Discover Card, Capital One, etc) refuse to correct.
A client sued GEMB (GE Money Bank – this bank is behind many store and gas cards), Equifax Information Services, Inc., Trans Union, LLC, and Innovis Data Solutions, Inc. for refusing to correct the client’s credit reports. An account that was opened four years before the client was born was reported as the client’s individual account! The allegations include that the client disputed the account directly to the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Innovis, and TransUnion) and after they investigated it and notified GEMB so it could investigate the dispute, all of the defendants decided to keep this account on the consumer’s credit reports. The allegations include that the defendants violated the FCRA and Alabama state law.
We will keep you posted on new suits that we file and will continue to look back at some of the suits we filed in 2009 to give you an idea of what your options may be and what to look out for when dealing with these types of consumer issues.