Is Wolpoff & Abramson calling you? Here's what you need to know.
If you’re afraid to answer your phone when it rings, expecting another round of threats and verbal abuse from debt collectors, you’re not alone. A lot of Americans have credit card, student loan, mortgage, and medical debt that has gone into arrears, and debt collectors are calling.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, restricts what debt collectors may say and do while collecting or attempting to collect a debt. Below is a sample of actions and tactics that are illegal under the FDCPA:
- Ignoring you when you dispute a debt and request no further contact
- Calling you outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Calling you at work when they know that you’re not allowed to accept such calls
- Discussing the debt with anyone except you, your spouse, attorney, or any co-signers
- Telling you that you can be arrested or sent to prison for nonpayment
While many collectors remain within the bounds of the FDCPA, others behave in ways that are aggressive, harassing, and just plain illegal. With third-party debt collectors, their jobs often rely on what they are able to collect, so their approach is to embarrass, humiliate, or scare you into paying.
Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP is a national law firm that collects debts for banking and large retail clients. The firm is based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, but has branch offices in California, Texas, Michigan, Georgia, and Minnesota. Records retained by the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website indicate that Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP has often been accused of violating the FDCPA while collecting or attempting to collect a debt.
Minh Quang Pham v. Wolpoff & Abramson LLP
In 2005, Minnesota resident Minh Quang Pham began receiving collection notices for an MBNA credit card debt that was not his. Over a year later, in late August 2006, Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP was assigned to collect the debt and sent him a collection notice.
Upon receipt of the letter Mr. Pham called Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP and told them that the account was not his. He even supplied his Social Security Number to confirm that they were looking for a different party. The account had originally been opened in Florida, and Mr. Pham had never resided there. In October he followed up with a dispute letter and enclosed a copy of the police report confirming that he had reported identity theft.
In January 2007 Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP sent him two more collection notices for entirely different accounts, these ones also not his. Mr. Pham telephoned them again to confirm that his Social Security number did not match that of the debtor, and directed them to call his attorney if they had further questions.
He later alleged that beginning mid-January 2007, he received debt collection calls from Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP on a regular basis. On at least one occasion, he was allegedly threatened with wage garnishment. A letter sent in March stated “We have made a decision to initiate litigation against you.”
By spring, he had had enough. Mr. Pham hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint that accused Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP of the following FDCPA violations:
- Threatening to garnish his wages (15 USC §§1692d, 1692e and 1692f)
- Threatening litigation that never transpired (15 USC 1692d, 1692e and 1692f)
- Using the telephone to harass and abuse Mr. Pham (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692d, 1692d(5) and 1692f)
The matter was later settled.
The numbers below have all been associated with Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP:
- 1-240-389-3900 / 386-3111 / 386-3000
Should any of them appear on your caller ID, a debt collector from the firm is trying to contact you about an alleged debt. If they attempt to collect a debt that is not yours and appear to disregard proof that you are not the correct party, contact a consumer attorney. Your attorney can deal with Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP on your behalf and help you initiate a lawsuit against the firm if the harassment continues. You could win $1,000 per FDCPA violation, plus court costs and attorney’s fees.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 0:07-cv-01637-DSD-SRN from United States District Court, District of Minnesota
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 Wolpoff & Abramson, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.