I don’t typically write about specific cases, however, I decided to begin in the hopes that more consumers would contact an attorney to consult on their case before it’s too late. There are often numerous defenses available in consumer collection/harassment cases and laws that apply that many attorneys, let alone non-attorney consumers, may not be aware exists.
Recently, A client of mine was sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates (“Portfolio”) and after some delay retained my office to fight the lawsuit. During our discussions it was disclosed that Portfolio was also contacting the client regarding another case, unrelated the to current lawsuit. The client explained that she thought she had settled the second case with another debt collector called RPM. The client informed Portfolio that she believed that the account was settled and shouldn’t be responsible to pay again. Portfolio responded that they knew nothing about any settlement and she still needed to pay the debt or a lawsuit would be filed. (typical debt collector bullying).
I agreed to represent the client on a contingency basis (no fee to the client). My office filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a consumer protection law that prevents debt collectors from engaging in certain types of harassing activities. Our lawsuit claimed that Portfolio engaged in false, deceptive and misleading representations in connection with this debt, and attempted to collect an amount not authorized by law. As expected, Portfolio responded to the lawsuit denying the allegations – at first.
The end result for the client was that Portfolio agreed to dismiss the first lawsuit against the client, stop collection activities on the second case that they had no business collecting on anyway, and pay my client money damages, as well as paying my attorney fees. Of course this was a great result for the client and essentially the complete opposite of what the client anticipated would occur in her case (she expected to pay my office and then enter into settlement arrangements with Portfolio).
The most important thing to take away from this story is that you shouldn’t try handle your case on your own, no matter how small, without at least consulting with a Miami consumer protection attorney. My office offer free consultations in all areas of consumer protection and harassment. We also takes many cases on contingency so there is little risk, if any, to the clients. If you are being contacted by a collection agency, contact my office for a free consultation at (786) 529-2176 – The Law Offices of Shaya Markovic, P.A.