On behalf of our clients, Lemberg & Associates recently filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, against Allen, Lewis & Associates, Inc. Our client alleges that, in attempting to collect a $1,000 debt relating to a violin rental, Allen, Lewis & Associates called her and told her that they were hired to file two complaints against our client for breach of contract and for unauthorized retaining of private property. The debt collector said that the legal complaint was in the “finalization department” and would be file in court shortly unless our client paid immediately. Our client explained that her husband had lost his job and that their home was in foreclosure, and that she didn’t have the ability to pay the debt, but that she would return the violin. The debt collector from Allen, Lewis & Associates said they wouldn’t accept the violin until she paid the debt. Our client alleges that the debt collector from Allen, Lewis & Associates was loud and aggressive, telling her that she should get a dictionary to look up words in the contract so she would understand the obligation to pay.
Our client called the original creditor in an effort to prevent a lawsuit being filed against her and to tell the creditor that she wanted to return the violin. The creditor told her they didn’t intend to file suit and that she could return the violin. Yet, when our client called Allen, Lewis & Associates to tell them what the creditor had said, our client alleges that both the debt collector and the Director of Compliance spoke to her in a derogatory manner. Our client got an attorney and informed Allen, Lewis & Associates that she was represented by a lawyer, but Allen, Lewis & Associates continued to call and threatened to proceed with the lawsuit.
The lawsuit charges that Allen, Lewis & Associates violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by engaging in harassing behavior; by using false, deceptive, or misleading representation in connection with the collection of a debt; by misrepresenting the legal status of a debt; by threatening to take legal action without intending to do so; and by using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt. In addition, the lawsuit charges that Allen, Lewis & Associates violated the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on our client.