Is Valentine & Kebartas Inc. calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
Nearly everyone finds themselves in debt at some point in their lives. Sometimes it is easy to handle while in other instances, you fall too far behind and debt collectors start calling.
As a result you feel embarrassed, hunted, and alone. A lot of debt collectors know what you’re going through and take advantage by harassing and embarrassing you.
Fortunately, you do not have to tolerate abuse because you owe money. A law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, gives you the right to dispute a debt and tell collection agencies not to contact you any more. It also restricts the activities of third-party debt collectors by making it illegal to do any of the following while collecting or attempting to collect a debt:
- Using profane or obscene language
- Calling you names like loser or deadbeat
- Using the phone to harass you by calling several times per day and / or hanging up when you answer
- Pretending to be police officers or government agents
- Calling you at work when such calls are not permitted by your employer
- Telling your friends and family that you owe a debt
Some debt collectors disregard the FDCPA limitations when collecting debts, especially if being abrasive and aggressive brings in money.
Valentine & Kebartas, Inc. is a collection agency headquartered in Lawrence, Massachusetts. There are branch offices in Idaho and Florida. The company was established in 1994 and has between 249 and 500 employees. The PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website contains reference to numerous lawsuits involving alleged FDCPA violations by Valentine & Kebartas, Inc.
Kelly Ayers v. Valentine & Kebartas Inc.
In August 2011 Illinois resident Kelly Ayers received a letter from Valentine & Kebartas, Inc. regarding a debt she owed on a delinquent Chase Bank credit card account. Collection calls also took place around the same time.
Ms. Ayers sought the assistance of legal aid attorneys at the Chicago Legal Clinic’s LACD program. On September 13, 2011, one of Ms. Ayers’ attorneys at LACD informed Valentine & Kebartas, Inc., in writing, that Ms. Ayers was represented by counsel, and directed them to cease contacting her.
Acting on her behalf, Ms. Ayer’s attorneys sent Valentine & Kebartas, Inc. twenty-two regular monthly payments on the debt, and the agency accepted those payments. Nonetheless, in July 2013, Valentine & Kebartas, Inc sent a collection letter about the debt directly to Ms. Ayers.
She filed suit via her attorneys, accusing Valentine & Kebartas, Inc. of the following FDCPA violations:
- Failing to cease all communications to Ms. Ayers ( 15 U.S.C.§ 1692c(c))
- Contacting a consumer who was represented by attorney with regards to the debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(2))
The matter was later settled.
All of the numbers below are associated with Valentine & Kebartas, Inc.:
If any of these numbers appear on your caller ID, the agency is trying to collect a debt from you. You have the right to retain a consumer attorney to represent you regarding the debt, at which point Valentine & Kebartas, Inc. is no longer permitted to contact you directly.
Should they persist in calling you or sending letters, your attorney can help you take them to court, where you can potentially win statutory damages of $1,000 per FDCPA violation. You have rights as a consumer under the FDCPA, and debt collectors who go too far need to be reminded of that.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 1:14-cv-01001, from United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern 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 Valentine & Kebartas, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.