Is Alan L. Brodkin and Associates calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
Debt collectors rank among the least-liked or respected professionals in the country. Not only do they remind you that you’ve fallen behind on your financial obligations, many of them are less than courteous or subtle when it comes to collecting payments from you. In fact, the harassment of consumers by debt collectors was so rampant nearly 40 years ago that the government had to step in with a new consumer protection law.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, regulates what a debt collector can say and do while collecting or attempting to collect a debt from you. In particular, it prohibits activities like those listed below:
- Failing to identify themselves as debt collectors seeking to collect a debt
- Using profane and obscene language
- Trying to collect after you have formally disputed a debt
- Calling you before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Telling you that you can be arrested or sent to jail if you don’t pay
- Trying to collect amounts that are not supported by law or the original creditor agreement
- Calling you at work when they know that your employer does not permit such calls
Unfortunately, these types of abuse are still in evidence 40 years after the FDCPA was originally passed. This appears to be because they work: debtors unfamiliar with their rights pay up just to make the harassment stop.
Alan L. Brodkin and Associates is a debt collection law firm located in Laguna Hills, California. It was established in 2005 and employs a staff of approximately 10 to 19. A search of the records on file at the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website (pacer.gov), confirms that Alan L. Brodkin and Associates has been sued by consumers who felt that their rights were being violated during the debt collection process.
Kirk Steele v. Alan L. Brodkin and Associates et al
According to PACER**, sometime prior to July 2004, California resident Kirk Steel allegedly fell behind on a personal financial obligation, which was subsequently transferred to Alan L. Brodkin and Associates for collection.
In October 2008 Mr. Steel received a letter from the firm that threatened legal action if the debt was not paid within seven days. He claimed that Alan L. Brodkin and Associates never sent the required debt verification letter within five days of this initial communication.
Mr. Steel did not believe that he owed this debt, which was for such a small amount that, under California law, no court costs and attorney fees were available. He hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint that accused Alan L. Brodkin and Associates of violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Engaging in harassing, oppressive behavior while trying to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692d)
- Using false and misleading representations to collect or attempt to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e)
- Failing to send Mr. Steele a validation letter within five days of its initial contact (15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a))
- Threatening legal action that the company had no intention of taking (15 U.S.C. § 1692f)
The matter was later settled.
The phone number for Alan L. Brodkin and Associates is 1-949-457-8686. If you see it on your caller ID, a debt collector from the firm is trying to collect money you may or may not owe. If they misrepresent the debt in any way to make you pay an amount you disagree with or threaten you with legal action that they do not appear to be in a position to take, contact a consumer attorney.
They will deal with Alan L. Brodkin and Associates on your behalf with regards to the debt and assist you in suing the firm if the illegal debt collection tactics continue. Owing a debt does not strip you of your rights, and the FDCPA is there to help you remind unethical debt collectors of that fact.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 3:09-cv-02345-W-BGS from United States District Court, Southern District of California)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Alan L. Brodkin or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.