The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a federal law that protects consumers from unfair, harassing, and / or abusive debt collection practices. Its safeguards include:
- Restrictions on how and when a debt collector may contact someone, as well as what they can say
- Giving consumers the right to dispute a debt and force debt collectors to stop calling them
Most consumer debts, such as student loans, medical bills, and personal credit cards, are covered by the FDCPA. Knowing this fact, as well as your rights, is extremely important if debt collectors such as Delanore, Kemper & Associates start calling.
Delanore, Kemper & Associates is a debt collection agency with offices in Atlanta, GA, New York, NY, and Toronto, Canada. According to its Dun and Bradstreet profile, it is a smaller operation with approximately 25 employees in total, but companies all over North America hire them to collect outstanding debts in multiple states and provinces.
While legally permitted to try collecting these debts, Delanore, Kemper & Associates is required to abide by the FDCPA rules governing third-party debt collector interactions with consumers. However, the agency has been taken to court many times after consumers complained that its debt collections practices violated FDCPA laws.
Piscitiello v. Delanor, Kemper & Associates, LLC
According to Leagle Inc., in August 2011 Debi Piscitiello filed a summons and complaint with the United States District Court for Minnesota. She alleged that representatives of Delanore, Kemper & Associates called her multiple times, claiming that they were attorneys and that a lawsuit had been filed against her for a delinquent payday loan. She also claimed in her complaint that the agency accused her of committing check fraud.
When Ms Piscitiello asked for documentation to support the existence of a lawsuit, the agency representatives allegedly refused to provide it. She quickly retained the services of an attorney, but Delanore, Kemper & Associates representatives continued to contact her even after being advised that she now had legal representation.
Ms. Piscitiello’s attorney accused the agency of the following violations of FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. §1692:
- Calling a consumer without properly disclosing its identity
- Using deceptive means to attempt to collect the alleged debt
- Falsely representing the debt
- Claiming to be calling from an attorney’s office
- Threatening to take legal action that they were legally unable to do
- Calling a consumer even after being made aware that she was now represented by an attorney with regards to the debt
- Falsely representing that she had committed a crime in order to disgrace her
- Failing to disclose that their communications were from a debt collector and that any information obtained would be used for the purpose of collecting a debt
Judge Richard H. Kyle awarded the plaintiff $8,941, comprising $1,000 in statutory damages, $3,500 in actual damages, $4,035 in attorneys' fees, and $406 in costs.
What To Do If You Get "The Call"
Should you receive any communication from 404-524-0848 or Delanore, Kemper & Associates with regards to collecting an alleged debt, you are legally allowed to request that the agency not contact you any more. It is also recommended that you retain an attorney who specializes in FDCPA matters. If a debt collector’s communications with you violate federal law, you may be entitled to both statutory and actual damages. An experienced attorney will help you prepare your case, determine how much you are eligible to receive in damages, and help you win the case in court.
The size and nature of your debt have nothing to do with how you should be treated as a human being. If third-party collectors are subjecting you to the type of harassment outlined in the FDCPA, you should consider completing a free case evaluation and filing a claim with the help of an FDCPA attorney. Winning your claim could mean netting $1000 for each FDCPA violation, along with additional damages, and having an attorney increases the likelihood that you’ll have a successful claim. Your attorney can aid in gathering evidence, arguing on your behalf, and knowing exactly what is required at each point in the case. In other words, your attorney will be in the best position to help you navigate this complex process and finally get the peace of mind that you deserve.
*The content of this article is not applicable solely to Delanore, Kemper & Associates, but to any third-party collection agency by which you claim to have been harassed.