In these difficult economic times, even the most financially responsible person can run into problems staying current with their credit card bills, mortgage payments, and other debt.
When this happens, their creditors sometimes hire a collection agency to collect any arrears. While collecting debt is legal, no company can bully, harass, or deceive you into paying.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates what debt collectors can and cannot do when communicating with consumers. It prohibits threats of violence, posing as attorneys, or telling you that a lawsuit has been filed when it hasn’t. Other illegal collection actions include:
- Using profane or obscene language
- Telling you that you can arrested or imprisoned for nonpayment of a debt
- Calling you before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Failing to report a debt as disputed to the credit bureaus
- Discussing the debt with your family, friends, and co-workers
- Demanding amounts inflated by ‘service charges’ and other miscellaneous fees
Company Profile: Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc.
If you are being called by Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc., information about the company is below.
Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc. is a debt collection agency located in Coram, New York. It opened for business in 1999, has a small staff of fewer than 10 employees, and is managed by Sal Vitenzia.
On its website, it states that in most cases, it “can positively impact your bottom line in less than 30 days.”
Court records retained by the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website confirms that consumers who believed they were being harassed by Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc. filed lawsuits for being subjected to unfair predatory business practices.
Alleged Violations against Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc.
According to PACER, on April 15, 2016, Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc. sent a collection letter to an Illinois consumer demanding payment for a medical debt.
The letter, which was later introduced as an exhibit, stated that it was regarding “ (Company Name), LTD. vs. (Consumer Name), making it appear as though a lawsuit has already been filed against her. It also recommended payment within 30 days, which overshadowed her dispute rights.
Feeling harassed by Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc., the woman sought legal counsel and filed a lawsuit for the following alleged FDCPA violations:
- Using false, deceptive, and misleading means to collect a debt
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt
The matter was later dismissed.
Hire a Consumer Lawyer
The phone number for Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc. is 1-631-234-5020. Seeing it on your caller ID means that you are being called by Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc. If they imply that a lawsuit has been initiated in order to alarm you into paying, don’t be fooled. Hire a consumer lawyer instead.
If you file a claim against Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc., you may be entitled to up to $1,000 in statutory damages, plus any actual damages you may have suffered and your attorney’s fees. Many lawyers offer a free consultation, so don’t hesitate to seek justice.
Case taken from PACER (pacer.gov). File number is Case: 1:17-cv-00421 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 Benjamin Michael & Associates, Inc., or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.