Is Kramer & Frank, PC calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
Saying that debt collectors can be enthusiastic in their attempts to collect delinquent accounts is an understatement. Nearly forty years ago, their treatment of consumers who owed a debt was so aggressive and even abusive that the US Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, in 1977 to curb the abuses by third-party debt collectors.
This act made it illegal for collection agencies and individual debt collectors to use unfair, deceptive, and hostile methods to obtain debt payments. Under the FDCPA, the actions below are illegal.
- Yelling, swearing, and using intimidating language
- Misrepresenting the debt in any way
- Using the phone to harass someone (calling and hanging up, or failing to leave a message)
- Ignoring a cease communications notice or directly contacting someone who has legal representation with regards to the debt
- Calling someone at an inconvenient time, such as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the consumer’s time zone
- Contacting a consumer at work when the collector knows that such calls are not permitted
- Telling someone that nonpayment can result in arrest and imprisonment
- Discussing the debt with anyone except the consumer, their attorney, their spouse, or any co-signers on the debt
Alleged Violations against Kramer & Frank, P.C.*
Not every debt collector remains within the boundaries mandated by the FDCPA, however.
Established in 1975 to exclusively deal in creditor collections, Kramer & Frank, P.C. is a law firm with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, and an additional office in Kansas City. Between the two offices, the firm employs 100-249 staff. A search of records retained by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) reveals that Kramer & Frank, P.C. has been sued frequently for allegedly violating the FDCPA during attempts to collect a debt.
Brian Copeland v. Kramer & Frank, PC
On August 26, 2008, Missouri resident Brian Copeland was in a courtroom in the Circuit Court of Boone County in the matter of Capital One Bank, N.A. v. Brian Copeland. He later claimed that he was approached by a woman who identified herself as an attorney from the collection agency, Kramer & Frank, P.C., and asked to speak with him outside the courtroom.
In private, this attorney allegedly advised Mr. Copeland that he could set up a repayment plan for the debt without having to appear in court. He took this to mean that the case against him would not proceed and that a payment plan would be established instead.
The attorney from Kramer & Frank, P.C. allegedly showed Mr. Copeland a one-page document that itemized the amounts due, and a payment plan of $70 per month was agreed to. She allegedly did not advise Mr. Copeland that a judgment order was going to be entered against him, that the one-page document was an order for judgment, or that it would be used to attach to his bank account in the event that he was late on his monthly payments.
Mr. Copeland later discovered that the order was amended to indicate that he consented to a judgment being entered against him.
The complaint filed in the US District Court accused Kramer & Frank, P.C. of using deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect the debt, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1692e(10)). A subsequent jury trial resulted in a verdict in favor of Mr. Copeland.
If you receive a call from 1-314-991-1177 or 1-816-471-0030 someone from Kramer & Frank, P.C. is trying to contact you to collect a delinquent debt. The law prohibits any debt collector from misrepresenting the nature or status of the debt, so if you suspect that the information you receive is misleading, see a consumer attorney. Such lack of transparency illegal under the FDCPA, and you could emerge with an award of $1,000 per violation, as well as court fees and attorney costs.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 4:09-cv-00310-CDP, from United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, St. Louis Division.
Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Kramer & Frank, P.C. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.