Is Blatt, Hafenmiller, Leibsker & Moore LLC calling you? Here's what you need to know
In September 1977 the US Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, which was a response to constant complaints about third-party debt collectors abusing consumers. More extensive than the earlier version of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, it regulates the ways that debt collectors may interact with consumers, and provides those who owe a debt with means of protecting themselves when a collection agency is abusive or unethical.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector may not do any of the following
- Call you at inconvenient times, such as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. your time.
- Call you at work if you tell them that your employer does not allow it.
- Fail to identify themselves as debt collectors.
- Use abusive or obscene language, or threaten legal action they can’t take (e.g. have you arrested or imprisoned).
- Contact you if you have requested in writing that they stop.
- Contact you if they know that you are represented by an attorney regarding the debt.
- Discuss the debt with any third party except your spouse, attorney, or co-signer.
Some debt collectors go over the line and end up in court, where they frequently end up paying for their mistakes.
Blatt, Hafenmiller, Leibsker & Moore LLC is a law firm that specializes in debt collecting. It was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Chicago, but also has offices in Phoenix, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Normal (IL), and Bingham Farms (MI). According to the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system, the firm, which has a staff count of approximately 140, has been sued many times for alleged FDCPA violations.
Stephen Szpila v. Blatt, Hafenmiller, Leibsker & Moore
According to PACER**, in January 2010 Stephen Szpila, an Illinois resident, filed a complaint with the US District Court. He claimed that representatives from Blatt, Hafenmiller, Leibsker & Moore LLC had been constantly calling him and demanding payment for an alleged debt. He added that these representatives spoke to him in an abusive and harassing manner and repeatedly called his number only to hang up. On one occasion, a debt collector allegedly responded to his offer of $250 a month by saying, “You call that fulfilling your obligations?”
Mr. Szpila’s complaint accused of the following FDCPA violations:
- By engaging in conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse (§1692d)
- Using abusive language when stating “You call that fulfilling your obligations?” (§1692d(2))
- Causing a telephone to ring repeatedly and continuously with the intent to annoy, abuse, and harass (§1692d(5))
- Making telephone calls without properly disclosing the caller’s identity (§1692d(6))
- Using deceptive means in an attempt to collect a debt (§1692e(10))
- Failing to disclose in subsequent communications that the call is from a debt collector (§1692e(11))
The matter was later resolved.
Blatt, Hafenmiller, Leibsker & Moore LLC has several phone numbers. In addition to the primary toll-free number of 1-800-357-9609, the following numbers are registered to the firm:
If you get a call from any of these numbers, be aware that the caller is from a collection agency and they are attempting to collect money you allegedly owe. If their communications with you include abusive commentary or harassing behavior such as constant calls (and subsequent hang-ups), see a consumer attorney. They can help protect your rights and even represent you if you take Blatt, Hafenmiller, Leibsker & Moore LLC to court for illegal collection tactics.
Should you win, you could receive statutory damages of $1000 for every FDCPA violation, as well as actual damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs. Each courtroom victory reminds debt collectors that there are lines they cannot cross, and consequences when they do.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case: 3:10-cv-50013, from United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division -Rockford )
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Blatt, Hafenmiller, Leibsker & Moore LLC or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.