Is Hunt & Henriques calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Financial difficulties can strike anyone at any time. All it takes is one extended illness or severe injury to set someone so far back in their regular debt payments that the accounts are turned over to a third-party collection agency or charged-off by the original creditor and sold to a junk debt buyer.
In either case, the collection calls begin, and they can be your worst nightmare. Little do consumers know, there is a legal option available for those who have been harassed by third-party debt collectors.
At one time, abusive behavior by third-party collection agencies was so widespread that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), was passed in 1977 as a consumer protection measure. While it outlaws hostile and unethical conduct such as telephone harassment and threats and imposes financial penalties on transgressors, many debt collectors continue to use methods like those listed below.
- Calling someone at an inconvenient place, such as an office or business where employees are not allowed to take personal calls.
- Calling at inconvenient times, such as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the consumer's timezone
- Nonstop calling with the intention of annoying or harassing the consumer
- Failing to identify themselves as a debt collector seeking to collect a debt
- Ignoring a formal cease communications request
- Using profane or obscene language
- Shouting, swearing, and making threats
- 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in the consumer's timezone
- Telling a consumer’s friends, co-workers, and uninvolved family members that a debt is owed
Alleged Violations against Hunt & Henriques*
Hunt & Henriques is a California consumer collection law firm originally established in 1982. It specializes in recovering delinquent credit card debts, but includes defaulted car payments and commercial obligations in its practice area. The firm’s office is in San Jose, where it directs its collection and litigation services for the entire state. Records archived by the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website turn up several cases of Hunt & Henriques being sued for violating the FDCPA.
In January, 2009, a California consumer began receiving calls from Hunt & Henriques about a debt she had allegedly defaulted on. The consumer later claimed that on November 17, she yielded to the stress of dealing with her mother’s recent death (as well as what she called ‘constant badgering’ for payment of the outstanding debt) and reluctantly gave Hunt & Henriques her checking account information and authorization that was expressly for a one -time electronic payment of $1,500.00.
During this same conversation, the Hunt & Henriques collector stated to the consumer that the balance would have to be paid in thirty days or they would sue. She responded that she would send a cashier's check certified mail in thirty days for the balance of the debt.
On December 29, 2009,Hunt & Henriques allegedly made an unauthorized electronic transfer payment from the consumer’s account for $3,164.07. The firm later claimed that this withdrawal had been authorized on November 17. When the consumer called them and demanded that the funds be returned, Hunt & Henriques allegedly responded by stating that the withdrawal of funds was authorized because she owed the debt, and they therefore would not return the funds.
In the complaint filed with the US District Court, the consumer's attorney claimed that Hunt & Henriques used an unfair or unconscionable means to collect the debt, which violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692f. The matter was later dismissed.
The phone numbers for Hunt & Henriques are 1-408-362-2270 and 1-800-680-2426, so if it appears on your caller ID, a debt collector is trying to reach you about a debt. If they engage in unethical collection practices, such as withdraw money from your checking account without your permission, see a consumer attorney immediately. If the matter goes to court, you could be awarded $1,000 per FDCPA violation as well as court costs and attorney’s fees, making the agency’s presumptive actions an expensive error.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 3:10-cv-02154-LAB-MDD from United States District Court, Southern District of California.
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 Hunt & Henriques or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.