Is Frederick J. Hanna & Associates calling you? Here's what you need to know.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was enacted in 1977 in response to the high volume of consumer complaints about third-party debt collectors. Once passed, it became illegal for debt collectors to use unfair, abusive, and unethical means to persuade consumers to settle a debt. Prohibited actions include:
- Calling consumers at inconvenient times, generally defined as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the consumer’s time zone
- Contacting a consumer who has sent a cease and desist letter or who has advised that they are represented by an attorney with regards to the debt
- Using rude and abusive language
- Threatening legal action that they are not in a position to take, such as wage garnishment
- Threatening to have the consumer arrested for nonpayment of the debt
- Discussing the debt with the consumer’s roommates, coworkers, neighbors, and other uninvolved parties
Alleged Violations against Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, P.C.*
Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, P.C. a law office specializing in debt collection, was founded in 1981 and has three offices: one in Marietta, Georgia, another in Plantation, Florida, and a third in Greenville, South Carolina. A search of records retained by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) turn up several FDCPA-related lawsuits initiated by consumers who claim that the office violated their rights while trying to collect debt payments.
In 2010 an Arizona resident received messages from a caller identifying himself as “Richard Cole,” an attorney from the law offices of Frederick J. Hanna. The plaintiff called back, believing that she would be speaking to an attorney, but was told that there was no “Richard Cole” at the office.
On July 8, 2010, the plaintiff spoke with “Miss Johnson,” an employee of Frederick J. Hanna, and tried to settle the debt that she owed to Chase Bank. She was transferred to a “John Kreegan,” who informed her that he would only agree to settle if she gave him her bank account number. When she refused, Mr. Kreegan allegedly began yelling and ranting at her.
According to the complaint she later filed, Mr. Kreegan demanded that she send him an envelope containing two post-dated checks, via Overnight Delivery, and immediately call him with the tracking number. She requested that he send her the settlement offer in writing, and she would then mail the appropriate payments. When she told him she had no access to a fax machine to receive the settlement agreement, he allegedly became so abusive and angry that the conversation reduced her to tears.
On July 16, the plaintiff spoke to Mr. Kreegan again. He allegedly refused to send the settlement agreement by mail and kept demanding her bank account information. She later claimed that he became incensed, and screamed about a deadline of July 26th, 2010, yelling, “Miss, you don’t seem to understand the definition of deadline!”
Collection agents also allegedly called before 8:00 a.m. on several occasions, and threatened legal action even though Frederick J. Hanna & Associates was not licensed to practice law in Arizona.
The plaintiff's attorney accused Frederick J. Hanna & Associates of the following FDCPA violations:
- Contacting her at an inconvenient place and time (15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(1)
- Misleading her to believe that the office could take action against her in its capacity as an attorney (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e(3) and 1692e(10))
- Engaging in abusive conduct by yelling at her (15 U.S.C. §1692d)
- Sending letters that contradicted the office’s requirement to advise Ms. Fleming of her right to dispute the debt (15 U.S.C. §1692g)
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. §1692f)
The matter was later settled.
If you receive a call from 1-770-988-9055, 1-866-375-4232 or 1-800-291-5144, someone from Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, P.C. is trying to collect money from you to settle a debt. If the representative uses rude or demeaning language and threatens legal action that they are incapable of taking, hire an attorney with experience in protecting consumer rights. Such tactics are illegal under the FDCPA, and you could emerge with an award of $1,000 per violation, as well as court fees and attorney costs.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 2:10-cv-02473-LOA, from United States District Court, District of Arizona.
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 Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, P.C. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.