The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects you against creditors using unfair tactics to collect a debt. Creditors cannot harass, threaten, or abuse you to try to force you to pay a debt. Even though you may owe the debt, a debt collector cannot use any method they choose to collect the debt. If debt collectors violate the rules in the FDCPA, you may be entitled to receive a monetary award for damages.
Examples of things a debt collector cannot do while trying to collect a debt include but are not limited to:
- Call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Call you repeatedly (i.e. several times a day)
- Using abusive, profane, or obscene language
- Trying to trick you by sending you documents that look like legal documents but they are not
- Telling you that you will be sent to jail if you do not pay the debt
- Threatening you with violence or using violence
- Contacting you at work if your employer does not allow you to receive telephone calls at work
How Did Mann Bracken, LLC Become One of the Largest Debt Collectors in the United States?
Mann Bracken, LLC, a law firm based in Atlanta, GA, and Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP, a Maryland law firm, were handling the majority of debt collection cases in the United States by 2006. Along with another large debt collection law firm based in California, Eskanos and Adler, PC, the three law firms merged in 2008 to form what most people in the industry considered the largest debt collection firm in the United States at that time. The new company, known as Mann Bracken, LLP, had 25 locations throughout the country.
How Did Mann Bracken, LLP Fail so Quickly?
By 2010, it was alleged that Mann Bracken, LLP was in serious financial trouble with more than 30 pending lawsuits against the firm and countless complaints by consumers alleging numerous violations of the FDCPA. Attorneys for Mann Bracken, LLP filed a motion in Montgomery County, Maryland, to appoint a Receiver for the firm as an alternative to filing bankruptcy.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Mann Bracken, LLP was closely linked to Axiant (it was alleged there was a shared interest in both entities) and the National Arbitration Forum. Axiant filed bankruptcy owing Mann Bracken, LLP millions of dollars.* The National Arbitration Forum was being sued by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office for allegedly violating several federal laws regarding debt collection. Receivership or bankruptcy appeared inevitable for the debt collection giant. The court approved Mann Bracken’s petition for receivership and the debt collection firm was eventually liquidated and closed.
Complaints Against Mann Bracken, LLP for Violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act
Even though Mann Bracken, LLP was going out of business, numerous pending complaints by consumers existed alleging violations of the FDCPA. The debt collection agency was accused by many of overly-aggressive and potentially illegal actions to collect debts.
In the class action lawsuit of Holmes v. Mann Bracken, LLC, filed in Pennsylvania, Holmes alleged that Mann Bracken used deceptive and unfair debt collection practices. Specifically, Holmes alleged that Mann Bracken, LLC violated the FDCPA by using false or misleading statements to collect a consumer debt. The FDCPA prevents debt collectors from lying to you in order to collect a debt such as telling you that you will go to jail if you do not pay the debt immediately.
In another class action lawsuit filed against Mann Bracken, LLP, Mann Bracken was accused of attempting to collect a debt from a spouse who did not owe the debt. If you do not owe the debt, the FDCPA protects you from being named in a collection lawsuit with your spouse.
Have You Been Sued by a Debt Collector or Creditor?
If you receive legal papers from a debt collector, it is very important that you contact a FDCPA attorney as soon as possible. You only have a very short time to respond to the lawsuit. A FDCPA attorney will investigate the facts to ensure that your legal rights are not being violated by the debt collector. If the debt collector has violated the FDCPA by using unfair or deceptive practices, you may be entitled to receive a monetary award as damages for the violations. This applies to all third party debt collectors who violate laws that protect you against aggressive and abusive actions.
*According to the Balitmore Sun.
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 Mann Bracken, LLC or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.