Is Blitt and Gaines calling you? Here's what you need to know.
In 1977 the US government enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, a consumer protection law intended to curb the abusive debt collection practices prevalent among third-party collection agencies. Under this law, you as a debtor have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity in all your communications with a debt collector.
The FDCPA also gives you the right to:
- Receive information about an alleged debt within five days of being contacted by a debt collector
- Be represented by an attorney in a debt collection case
- Request that third-party debt collectors communicate with you only in writing, or not at all
- Sue debt collectors who disregard FDCPA standards when dealing with you
The same law prohibits debt collectors from the following tactics and behaviors:
- Calling at inconvenient hours, such as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. your time
- Calling you at work after being informed that the employer prohibits does not allow such calls
- Discussing the debt with anyone but you, your spouse, your attorney, and any co-signers (if applicable)
- Obscene and/or abusive language
- Threatening legal action they cannot take, such as having you arrested
- Claiming to be law enforcement officers or attorneys when they are not
Any debt collector who breaches the FDCPA can be sued in federal court and be fined up to $1,000 per violation.
Blitt and Gaines, PC is a debt collection law firm that specializes in collecting both consumer and commercial debt. Founded in 1995, the firm is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas. According to the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system, it has been sued many times for alleged FDCPA violations. The consumer complaints websites contain reference to alleged misbehaviors committed by Blitt and Gaines, PC representatives.
Neal Zazove v. Blitt and Gaines, PC
According to PACER**, in March 2010 debt collection attorneys filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, on behalf of Citibank, seeking to collect an alleged debt from Illinois resident Neal Zazove. This suit was dismissed the following July, but in October 2011 Blitt and Gaines, PC filed a second lawsuit against the Mr. Zazove for the same alleged debt. Like the first lawsuit, this one was finally dismissed in July 2012 for want of prosecution.
When Blitt and Gaines, PC filed a third lawsuit for the same debt in June 2013, Mr. Zazove hired an attorney. Despite being informed that he was now represented by counsel, Blitt and Gaines, PC served him directly with Requests for Admission, Interrogatories, and Document Production Requests at his home address.
In the complaint filed with the US District Court, Blitt and Gaines, PC was accused of the following FDCPA transgressions:
- Using a false, deceptive, or misleading approach in connection with collecting a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e)
- Using an unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect a debt- in this instance, filing a third lawsuit when Illinois law only permitted one (15 U.S.C. § 1692f)
- Sending Mr. Zazove discovery requests after knowing he was represented by an attorney (15 U.S.C. §1692c(2))
The matter was later resolved.
The phone number for Blitt and Gaines, P.C. is 1-888-920-0620. If the number shows up on your caller ID, a firm representative is trying to contact you about an alleged debt. Remember that you have the right to request verification of the debt or dispute it completely. Even if you do owe the money and can’t afford to pay, you still have certain protections under the FDCPA, and a skilled consumer attorney can help you benefit from them. If a debt collector goes too far with you and you take them to court, you could win compensation of $1000 per FDCPA violation.
Never assume that because you owe a debt, you deserve to be abused, embarrassed, and harassed. The opposite is true.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case: 1:14-cv-04133, from United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Blitt and Gaines, P.C. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.