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Updated on Author: Contributor: Sergei Lemberg

Is Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. Calling You?*

Is Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. calling you? Here’s what you need to know.

Dealing with a collector is rarely a pleasant experience, especially when they treat your legitimate reasons for falling into debt as mere excuses. They don’t care that you lost your job, became too ill to work, needed money or emergency medical expenses, or had to pay for repairs for the car you need to get to work. They’re only interested in recovering what you owe.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, requires debt collectors to treat you with respect and total transparency. They are not permitted to pull tricks like the following when collecting or attempting to collect money from you.

  • Cursing, using hostile tones, and calling you names
  • Failing or refusing to identify themselves as debt collectors trying to collect a debt
  • Calling you at inconvenient times and places: e.g. in the middle of the night or at work when your workplace doesn’t allow such calls.
  • Using constant phone calls to annoy or harass you
  • Threatening legal action they cannot take or have no intention of taking

Not all debt collectors confine their activities to FDCPA-approved guidelines, especially if the ends seem to justify the illegal means.

Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. is a law office located in Cleveland. Established in 1930, it has close to 85 lawyers who are licensed to practice in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin.

It specializes in commercial collections, consumer collections, real estate default, and similar fields, and includes junk debt buyers among its clientele. Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. has appeared in court several times to defend allegations of improper debt collection practices.

Patricia M. Gerace v. Weltman, Weinberg & Reis LPA

On May 25, 2011 Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. sent Michigan resident Patricia Gerace a collection letter for an old debt she allegedly owed to LVNV, a junk debt collector. This first and only written communication from the firm allegedly did not advise Ms. Gerace of her 30-day right to validate and dispute the debt under 15 U.S.C. 1692g.

Ms. Gerace later complained that she kept getting calls directing her to contact “Weltman, Weinberg & Reis., LPA, PLLC”, but none of the voicemail messages allegedly included the mandatory warning that the message was from a debt collector seeking to collect a debt.

Threatened with a lawsuit and knowing that the debt in question was beyond the statute of limitations, she retained a consumer attorney. With assistance from that attorney, she filed a complaint accusing Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. of the following FDCPA violations:

  • Using false and misleading means to collect or attempt to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. 1692e)
  • Threatening Ms. Gerace with a lawsuit on a debt that was more than six years old (15 U.S.C. 1692e(5))
  • Using deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect the debt (15 U.S.C. 1692e(10))
  • Sending a collection letter without the mandatory validation and dispute notification language (15 U.S.C. 1692g(10))
  • Failing to disclose in subsequent communications that the communication was from a debt collector (15 U.S.C. 1692e(11))
  • Falsely representing the character, amount or legal status of the debt (15 U.S.C. 1692e(2)(a))
  • Engaging in conduct that harassed Ms. Gerace while trying to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. 1692d)

The matter was later dismissed.

The phone numbers for Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co are 1-800-837-0603 or 1-888-624-2335. If it appears on your caller ID, they are trying to collect a debt from you. If the debt in question is barred from collection by statute and they threaten you with a lawsuit, see a consumer attorney. The FDCPA prohibits such debt collection methods, and your attorney will ensure that your rights are not infringed upon.

If the matter escalates to court, you could be awarded statutory damages of $1,000 per FDCPA violation, so never forget that when it comes to abusive debt collectors, the law is on your side.

*Case taken from PACER ( File number is 2:11-cv-12550-GCS-MKM, from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern 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 Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.

About the author:

Contributor: Sergei Lemberg

Sergei Lemberg is a consumer rights attorney, practicing since 2006, whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He is known for a United States Supreme Court case (Facebook v. Duguid) defending consumers from autodialers under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 to send unsolicited text messages. He is also the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.

See more posts from Contributor: Sergei Lemberg
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