For most of us, being in debt is bad enough, but when debt collectors assail us with demeaning and aggressive phone calls every day, it can feel like you’re being stalked. Don’t let an unethical collection agency harass you into paying a debt you can’t afford. Instead, review your rights as an indebted consumer.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, dictates where, when, and how a debt collector can contact you and request payment. If you’re dealing with a collection agency that subjects you to these types of abuses, talk to a consumer lawyer to discuss your next step.
● Failing to send a debt validation letter within five days of first contacting you
● Taking steps calculated to embarrass you, such as calling your friends and family
● Asking you why you don’t “pay your bills”
● Threatening to garnish your wages or foreclose on the home
● Saying they can have you deported if you are an immigrant
● Harassing you by phone (calling and hanging up)
Company Profile: Lang, Richert & Patch
If you are being called by Lang, Richert & Patch, here is a wider company overview.
Lang, Richert & Patch is a debt collection law office in Fresno, California. It opened for business in 1963, has 22 employees, and is managed by Mark L. Creede. Archived records at the PACER website suggest that consumers who believed that they were being harassed by Lang, Richert & Patch engaged a lawyer to help them fight back.
Alleged Violations against Lang, Richert & Patch*
According to information on the PACER website, on or around February 1, 2013, Lang, Richert & Patch sent a collection letter to a California consumer. It stated that the communication was coming from an attorney and that if she did not dispute the debt within 30 days, they would assume it to be valid. The consumer believed that she was left to assume who the debt collector was.
The letter included a phone number, but when she called it, she got a voice message indicating that the call would be recorded for quality control, when she did not consent for her communications to be reviewed by a third party.
Feeling harassed by Lang, Richert & Patch, the consumer sued the firm for using false, deceptive, and misleading means to collect a debt.
The matter was later settled.
Hire a Consumer Lawyer
The phone number for this debt collection law firm is 1-559-228-6700. If you see it on your caller ID whenever the phone rings, it means that Lang, Richert & Patch is trying to reach you. If they send letters that mislead you on who the debt collector actually is, hire a consumer lawyer and file a claim against Lang, Richert & Patch. You could be awarded $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus your attorney fees, which is a costly reminder to all debt collectors that consumers have rights no matter how much they owe.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). Case 3:13-cv-03421-CRB from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
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 Lang, Richert & Patch or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.