Is Javitch, Block & Rathbone calling you? Here's what you need to know.
When a person falls behind on their financial obligations, such as credit card, student loan, and mortgage payments, the creditors may turn the accounts over to third-party debt collectors. These collection agencies usually work directly for the creditor or purchase the charged-off debt, a process known as ‘junk debt’ buying.
Although debt collectors can be persistent to the point of harassment, you as a consumer should always remember that you have legal protection under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. This federal law, which was passed in 1977, places strict limitations on how third-party collection agencies may treat consumers during the process of collecting a debt. Below is a sample of prohibited behaviors.
- Calling at inconvenient times, such as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Calling you at work after you’ve advised that you cannot take such calls there
- Using the phone to annoy and harass you: for example, hanging up when you answer, or refusing to leave a message
- Presenting themselves as anything but a debt collector trying to collect a debt
- Swearing, yelling, and threatening damage to your person or property
- Persisting in contacting you even after you’ve sent a formal cease and desist communication
- Threatening action they cannot legally take, such as having you arrested or imprisoned
Alleged Violations against Javitch Block LLC*
Some third-party debt collectors, however, choose to ignore the law, especially when their methods bring results.
Javitch Block LLC (formerly Javitch, Block & Rathbone) is an Ohio-based law firm specializing in creditor representation. It was established in 1991 and has a staff of 100 to 249 spread out over several branch offices: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Indiana, Richardson, Texas, Brentwood, Tennessee, and Westover, West Virginia. The firm’s collection efforts have intermittently landed it in court to answer charges of violating the FDCPA.
Barry Kuenzer v. Midland Funding LLC d/b/a Midland Funding DE LLC, and Javitch Block & Rathbone, LLC
In February 2009 Ohio resident Barry Kuenzer applied for a loan with GE Money Bank, intending to fund dental work at Aspen Dental. He finally decided not to schedule the appointment and requested a refund/cancellation of the loan. Aspen Dental forwarded the refund request to GE Money Bank, but Mr. Kuenzer later discovered that despite the refund request, collection activities were in progress.
Mr. Kuenzer again requested a refund/cancellation, but was informed that GE had sold the original loan to Midland Funding LLC, which employed Javitch Block & Rathbone, LLC to assist in the collection.
Midland Funding LLC and Javitch Block & Rathbone, LLC sued Mr. Kuenzer to recover the alleged debt, although he claimed that he had never been served with any legal documents. In June 2012 they obtained a default judgement against him.
Mr. Kuenzer said that he did not receive a copy of the judgement and was unaware that a garnishment order was in effect until he received his July 13, 2012 paycheck and found that his wages had been diminished.
Mr. Kuenzer requested and received confirmation from Aspen Dental and GE stating that no debt was owed to either company. Even after allegedly receiving the confirmation, Midland Funding and Javitch Block & Rathbone continued their attempts to collect on the alleged debt.
After hiring an attorney, Mr. Kuenzer filed a complaint that accused Midland Funding and Javitch Block & Rathbone of the following FDCPA violations:
- Collecting money they had no right to seek, violating 15 U.S.C. §1692d, which prohibits debt collectors from engaging in oppressive or abusive conduct
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect an alleged debt, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1692f
- Collecting an amount not expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or supported by law. (15 U.S.C. §1692f(1))
The matter was later dismissed.
If a call from 1-800-837-0109 or 1-866-989-0532 shows up on your caller ID, Javitch Block LLC is trying to collect a debt from you. Request verification of the debt, and if they fail to provide it, schedule an appointment with a consumer attorney. The FDCPA prohibits the collection of alleged debts not authorized by law, and if you are hit with a surprise wage garnishment, you can sue for statutory and actual damages, making illegal collection an expensive mistake.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 1:13-cv-00382-DAP, from United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio.
Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Javitch Block LLC or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.