Are you being called by Patenaude & Felix?* Here's what you need to know.
Debt collectors have a place in the modern commercial landscape. When they conduct themselves ethically and are willing to work with financially distressed consumers, they play an important role in the fiscal health of American businesses. Unfortunately, too many collection agencies are more concerned with their own bottom line, and employ strategies like deception and harassment to get a quicker payoff.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was passed by Congress in 1977 to stop the rise in bankruptcies that were attributable to debt collector harassment. For over 40 years now it has been illegal for third-party collection agencies to use tactics like those listed below to collect a debt:
- Swearing, raising their voice, and calling you names
- Failing or refusing to identify themselves as debt collectors in every communication
- Pretending to be members of law enforcement
- Using the telephone to harass you with constant calls
- Refusing to prove that a debt is valid and they are authorized to collect it
- Trying to collect amounts that are not authorized by law or the original agreement that created the debt
Company Profile: Patenaude & Felix
If you are being called by Patenaude & Felix, information about the company is below.
Patenaude & Felix is a debt collection law firm located in San Diego, California, with outlying offices in maintains offices in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. It was established in 1991, has approximately 115 employees, and is managed by its CEO, Raymond Patenaude. According to civil litigation records viewable at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website, people who believed they were being harassed by Patenaude & Felix chose to hire consumer attorneys and fight back.
Alleged Violations against Patenaude & Felix
According to PACER, on or about October 18, 2016, Patenaude & Felix mailed a debt collection letter to a Wisconsin resident regarding an alleged credit card debt. This letter, which was the first communication that she had received from the firm, appeared to overshadow her dispute rights by stating, “If you wish to avoid further collection activity, please contact us at (866) 606-3290.” The letter was also printed Patenaude's attorney letterhead and stated, “Please be advised that the above referenced debt has been assigned to this firm to initiate collection efforts regarding your delinquent outstanding balance to our client”, which she took to mean that a law firm had been hired to sue her.
She was also unclear about the amount Patenaude & Felix was collecting, as the total due was listed as $1193.98 while the ‘minimum due’ was $69.00, and it was not unusual for banks to hire a debt collector to collect only the “past due” amount, i.e. missed payments and fees, of a credit card balance rather than the whole balance.
Feeling harassed by Patenaude & Felix, she hired a consumer attorney and filed a class action lawsuit against the firm for allegedly violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Using false, deceptive and misleading means to collect a debt
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt
- Sending her a letter that overshadowed her dispute rights
The matter was later dismissed.
Hire an Attorney
The phone numbers for this debt collection law office are:
If any of them appear on your caller ID at any time, be aware that you are being called by Patenaude & Felix. If they send letters that misrepresent your rights or the amount you actually owe, hire a consumer attorney who can help you file a claim against Patenaude & Felix. You could potentially win $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus associated costs, legal fees, and statutory damages. No matter how much you may owe, abusing you to expedite payment is against the law.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is Case 2:17-cv-00120-DEJ from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Division.
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 Patenaude & Felix, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.