Is Hayt Hayt & Landau LLP calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
Most Americans carry some degree of debt nowadays: credit cards, mortgages, medical bills, and student loans are leading examples. According to Fortune.com, indebted households in this country carry an average credit card balance of $15,706. When it becomes impossible to keep up the payments, these and other accounts may be turned over to third-party debt collectors, who are not always respectful in their attempts to collect money.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) imposes limits on what third-party debt collectors can say or do while attempting to collect debt payments. Under the FDCPA, the following actions are illegal:
- Calling at inconvenient times and places, such as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the consumer’s time zone.
- Calling someone at their place of employment after being told that personal calls of this type are prohibited
- Swearing and threatening to damage someone’s property, reputation, and / or credit rating
- Revealing details about the debt to uninvolved third parties
- Threatening legal actions they cannot take
Alleged Violations against Hayt, Hayt and Landau*
Some debt collectors cross the line anyway. Established in 1978, Hayt, Hayt and Landau is a Miami-based law office that specializes in pursuing credit card debtors. Two of their biggest clients are Capital One Bank and Midland Funding, which is a junk debt buyer. According to the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system, Hayt, Hayt and Landau have been sued for allegedly violating the FDCPA during debt collection attempts.
Between April and June 2010, and continuing through June 2010, Pennsylvania resident Christine Uporsky received several calls from Hayt, Hayt and Landau demanding payment on a debt she allegedly owed to Merrick Bank.
Ms. Uporsky informed the representatives that she had made a payment agreement with Merrick Bank; however, Merrick Bank had allegedly refused to put the arrangements in writing, which caused her to stop making payments, since she could not be certain that Merrick Bank would honor the agreement. She informed the debt collectors that the interest she had been charged was 37%, making it impossible for her to pay off the balance. She also revealed that she had terminal cancer and lived on Social Security Disability Insurance.
According to her complaint, Hayt, Hayt and Landau continued to call her about paying off the debt. On one occasion, a representative allegedly threatened that if Ms. Uporsky did not pay the debt, a lawsuit would be filed against her and her wages would be garnished, despite the fact that in Pennsylvania an individual’s wages cannot be garnished to satisfy an outstanding consumer debt.
On June 17, 2010, Hayt, Hayt and Landau filed complaint on behalf of Merrick Bank, seeking judgment against a consumer. She notified the Court that she intended to enter a defense and would be attending the July 22 hearing. Upon receiving notification that she intended to enter a defense, Hayt, Hayt and Landau withdrew the complaint.
The consumer’s own complaint accused the firm of the following FDCPA violations:
- Harassing her in connection with the collection of an alleged debt ( §1692d)
- Using false, deceptive, or misleading representations or means in connection with the collection of the debt (§1692e)
- Implying that nonpayment would result in the garnishment of her wages although such action was illegal (§1692e(4))
- Threatening to take an action that could not legally be taken or that was not intended to be taken ( §1692e(4))
- Using false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect a debt ( §1692e(10))
- Using unfair and unconscionable means with to collect or attempt to collect a debt (§1692f)
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone number for Hayt, Hayt and Landau is 1-305-661-6660. If you get calls from this number, a debt collector from their firm is trying to collect payments on a debt you allegedly owe. If they threaten to garnish your wages when such an act is illegal in your area, call you incessantly, and become rude or combative when asked to stop, contact a consumer attorney. If you take them to court and win, you could receive compensation of $1000 per FDCPA violation. These penalties are an expensive reminder that the law has to be obeyed.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 3:11-cv-01140-MEM, from United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania.
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 Hayt, Hayt and Landau or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.