Are You Being Called By Stephen Einstein & Associates?* Here's What You Need to Know
Debt can spiral out of control for many different reasons. Perhaps you were laid off, or became too ill or disabled to hold down regular employment. The collection agency retained to collect on your overdue accounts doesn’t care about the reasons: they just want your money and are not always pleasant when trying to collect it.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, protects indebted consumers from being tricked, intimidated, and otherwise abused by third-party debt collectors. Actions like those listed below are illegal when used to pressure you into paying a debt.
- Using profane or obscene language
- Failing or refusing to identify themselves as debt collectors
- Calling you at work when your employer does not allow such calls
- Demanding amounts not supported by the law or the original creditor agreement
- Calling before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Telling someone that they will be arrested or lose their home if they don’t pay
Company Profile: Stephen Einstein & Associates
Stephen Einstein & Associates is a debt collection law office located in New York, New York. It was established in 1989, has 20 to 49 employees, and is managed by partner, Stephen Einstein. The firm’s rating with the Better Business Bureau is D+. Records archived at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website reveal that consumers who believed they were being harassed by Stephen Einstein & Associates have opted to assert their rights in court on a number of occasions.
Alleged Violations against Stephen Einstein & Associates
According to PACER, on or about December 28, 2012, Stephen Einstein & Associates filed a lawsuit against a New York resident in the Kings County Civil Court. The firm and and Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union sought to collect an alleged balance of $10,817.76 and further alleged that the total amount borrowed was $16,500.
He asserted that the amount was incorrect, as $1,500 of the claimed $16,500 was withheld from him by the bank and due to be paid at the end of the loan. He also argued that he had attempted to pay the debt and been rebuffed, even though the lawsuit alleged that he had failed and refused to pay, and never been properly served with notice of the action.
On or about April 8, 2013, Stephen Einstein & Associates sent him a collection letter despite the pending lawsuit and this communication, later produced as an exhibit, did not mention the intended litigation. Another, similar, letter was sent on or about December 2, 2013, this one claiming an amount inflated by interest.
Feeling harassed by Stephen Einstein & Associates, the New York reisdent hired a consumer attorney and sued the firm for the following alleged FDCPA violations:
- Using harassing means to collect a debt
- Using false, deceptive or misleading means to collect a debt
- Misrepresenting the the character, amount, or legal status of the debt
- Threatening legal action the firm had no intention of taking
- Using unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt
The matter was later settled.
Hire an Attorney
The phone numbers for Stephen Einstein & Associates are:
If either number appears on your caller ID when the phone rings, it means that you are being called by Stephen Einstein & Associates. Should they file lawsuits against you demanding inaccurate amounts and send collection letters in the interim, hire a consumer attorney. If you choose to file a claim against Stephen Einstein & Associates and win your case, you could be awarded $1,000 per violation as well as attorney's fees, court costs, and any actual damages. The law affords you protections that debt collectors ignore at their own risk.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is Case 1:13-cv-07046-JG-SMG from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
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 Stephen Einstein & Associates or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.