The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits third-party debt collectors from using deception, threats, or hostile behavior to collect payment for a debt. Under this federal law, ‘third party collectors’ include collection agencies, debt collection attorneys, and companies that buy delinquent debts with the intention of collecting on them.
The Act grants several important rights to consumers. They include:
- Advising a debt collector in writing that you want no further contact from them
- Receive written information about the amount you allegedly owe, the name of your creditor, and how to proceed if you want to dispute the debt
- Sue the debt collector for breaching the FDCPA in their dealings with you
At the same time, the FDCPA places the following limitations on debt collector activity:
- When and where you may be contacted. Unless you give permission, they may not call before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. or contact you at your place of employment if you indicate that you may not take calls there.
- Who they can discuss the debt with. A debt collector may only address the matter with you, your attorney, and possibly your spouse. According to the FDCPA, friends, family, neighbors, and other uninvolved parties are off-limits.
- What they can say to you. Debt collectors cannot threaten to have you arrested or imprisoned, or present themselves as attorneys (if they are not) or police officers.
They must also identify themselves as debt collectors and provide you with a mini-Miranda advising you that any information they gather will be used for that purpose.
Alleged Violations against Nudelman, Klemm & Golub, P.C.*
Nudelman, Klemm & Golub, P.C. (formerly Nudelman Nudelman and Ziering) is an office of debt collection attorneys located in Roseland, New Jersey. Established in 1964, the firm retains 20 to 49 employees and specializes in collecting delinquent accounts for Capital One. According to records on file at PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system, Nudelman, Klemm & Golub, P.C. has been sued several times for allegedly engaging in debt collection activities that violate the FDCPA.
In August 2011 a consumer began receiving what her lawyer later described as ‘repeated, harassing, and threatening’ calls to her cell phone, all from Nudelman, Klemm & Golub representatives who were trying to collect payments on a delinquent Capital One account.
The plaintiff claimed that they refused to identify which law office they represented, and that they became hostile when she explained that she could not pay the amount owing due to being on Supplemental Security Income. The agents also allegedly warned her that failure to pay would result in the police coming to her home to arrest her. (The police never came.)
Her attorney also accused the firm of multiple breaches of the FDCPA, including:
- Engaging in harassing, oppressive or abusive conduct in connection with the collection of a debt
- Threatening to contact law enforcement when it had no intention of doing so
- Using false, deceptive or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of a debt
- Representing that nonpayment of the debt will result in arrest or imprisonment
- Using unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect an alleged debt
The matter was later dismissed.
What to do if you get ‘the call’
If you receive a call from 1-973-618-0000, Nudelman, Klemm & Golub, P.C. is probably trying to collect payments on a delinquent debt. When you speak to a firm representative, request written confirmation that you owe the debt and the firm is authorized to collect. Failure to provide you with these particulars within five (5) days is a violation of the FDCPA. So is unethical behavior: debt collectors may not threaten to have you arrested, refuse to identify themselves or make constant, harassing calls. If you feel you are the victim of unscrupulous debt collection processes, contact an attorney, as you may be eligible for compensation of $1000 per FDCPA violation.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 2:12-cv-01573-SDW-MCA, from United States District Court, District of New Jersey.
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 Nudelman, Klemm & Golub, P.C. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.