Consumer Protection

Behrend & Ernsberger, P.C. has long championed consumer rights. We have fought against credit card debt collection agencies, misleading life insurance sales, “lemon” cars, and mortgage scams, just to name a few. We have taken on extremely large corporations and small companies who violate the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices Act and Consumer Protection Law. Our firm has represented clients who have lost their life savings, been illegally harassed by debt collectors, or been swindled into something they did not intend to purchase.

The Unfair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that regulates how debt collectors may operate. Some of the things that debt collectors are forbidden from doing include:

1. Harassing you with profane language;

2. Threatening you with physical harm;

3. Misleading you about criminal punishments; or,

4. Falsely report you to a credit-reporting agency.

The Federal Trade Commission has a “Frequently Asked Questions” website that is an excellent guide for consumers, which can be seen by clicking here.

You can also stop a debt collector from contacting you if you tell them to stop in writing. The Federal Trade Commission recommends the following: “Make a copy of your letter. Send the original by certified mail, and pay for a “return receipt” so you’ll be able to document what the collector received. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit. Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact. The creditor or the debt collector still can sue you to collect the debt.” FTC, Debt Collection FAQs

The Consumer Federation of America issued a report on July 31, 2012 that details the most-complained about practices in the United States. The report, available here,  indicates that some debt collectors are still brazenly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including by directly debiting from a consumer’s checking account without authorization, that timeshare resellers and timeshare reseller recovery companies do no work for their pay, that mortgagors give consumers the run-around in mortgage modifications, and that pay-day loan companies charge exorbitant interest. These are just a few examples of the outrageous manner in which some consumers are taken advantage of.

Do not be taken advantage of. The law firm of Behrend & Ernsberger, P.C. can help fight back and protect your rights. The first step is to call us today at 412.391.2515.