Are you being called by Messer & Stilp, Ltd.?* Here's what you need to know.
Once you have missed a certain number of payments on your student loans, credit cards, or other types of debt, your creditors may turn the accounts over to third-party debt collectors to pursue on their behalf. Although there are laws in place that regulate how and when these collection agencies may communicate with you, many of them try to push the envelope in the hope that they can stress you into paying.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA regulates what debt collectors can say or do when trying to collect a consumer debt. If the company assigned to your account uses tactics like those below, they are breaking the law and you have grounds to sue.
- Calling at inconvenient times, usually before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m
- Calling you at work after they’ve been advised that such calls are not allowed
- Publicly posting details of a debt on social media and other public outlets
- Discussing the debt with your family (with the possible exception of your spouse), friends, and co-workers
- Swearing, raising their voice, and making threats
- Leaving voice messages that do not identify the collector and the reason for their call
Company Profile: Messer & Stilp, Ltd.
If you are being called by Messer & Stilp, Ltd., information about the company is below.
Messer & Stilp, Ltd., which now does business as Messer Strickler, Ltd., is a debt collection law office located in Springfield, Illinois. It was established in 2000, has less than 10 employees, and is managed by Joseph S. Messer. Civil litigation records digitized and retained by the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website confirm that consumers who felt they were being harassed by Messer & Stilp, Ltd. dealt with the situation by hiring their own attorneys and fighting back.
Alleged Violations against Messer & Stilp, Ltd.
According to PACER, on February 21, 2012, an Illinois resident received a collection letter from Messer & Stilp, Ltd.. He requested verification of the debt, and received a letter alleging that he owed $22,300.45 to First American Bank. On April 26, 2012, the firm filed a complaint against the plaintiff and his wife in Cook County, this time alleging that they owed $21,633.99.
The plaintiff was confused by the difference and concerned that the suit had been filed in Cook County, although the plaintiff and his wife did not live there and the property that secured the alleged obligation was in McHenry County. He was also concerned when Messer & Stilp, Ltd. attached, as an exhibit to the state complaint, a copy of the original agreement. It contained his full SSN and now made it part of the public record.
Feeling harassed by Messer & Stilp, Ltd., the plaintiff hired a consumer attorney and sued the firm for allegedly violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Filing a lawsuit in a county where he did not live and where the original agreement was not signed
- Making his SSN details public
- Misrepresenting the amount of the debt
The matter was later resolved.
Hire an Attorney
The phone number for this debt collection law firm is 1-312-345-0900. If the phone rings and you see this number on your caller ID, it means that you are being called by Messer & Stilp, Ltd.. If they sue you in a venue where you do not live, demand varying debt amounts, and make personal details public, hire a consumer attorney who can help you file a claim against Messer & Stilp, Ltd.. You could potentially win $1,000 per FDCPA violation in addition to any associated damages, fees and costs. Even if you owe thousands of dollars, you have rights that collection agencies ignore at their own risk.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is Case: 1:12-cv-09392 from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Messer & Stilp, Ltd., or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.