A Harrisburg-area woman accused the debt collection law firm, Patenaude & Felix, A.P.C. of Carnegie, PA and San Diego, CA, of unfair debt collection tactics when it attempted to collect an alleged Target National Bank consumer credit card account. Her accusations are found in a lawsuit she filed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania alleging Patenaude and Felix violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The consumer asked the Court to enter a judgment against Patenaude & Felix and for her statutory damages, actual damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.
According to the lawsuit, Patenaude & Felix was able to secure a collection judgment against the consumer on behalf of Target. The consumer learned of the judgment when she applied to refinance her mortgage. If the refinance went through, her family would have been able to save tens of thousands of dollars in reduced mortgage payments due to a lower interest rate. When the consumer attempted to resolve the judgment, Patenaude & Felix deceptively changed the settlement terms, called her vicious names, and screamed so loud, it injured her eardrum. Even after the consumer paid an agreed settlement amount, Patenaude & Felix still refused to treat the judgment paid causing the consumer to be unable to refinance her mortgage.
Although the consumer denied owing any money to Target, there was no time to refuse payment as the judgment prevented closing on the mortgage refinance. According to the Complaint, the consumer contemplated dealing with the judgment after it was reported paid and the refinanced loan closed.
“Never trust a debt collector,” her attorney, Joseph A. Mullaney, III, opined. “If you think you have an agreement with a debt collector, you must reduce the agreement to writing,” Mullaney cautioned. If a debt collector will not provide a consumer with an agreement in writing, the consumer can document the agreement in writing and condition any payment on the terms found in the consumer’s written document. “It’s a two-way street when it comes to agreements,” Mullaney said. “However, it is always best to see if a Consumer Rights Attorney will help you draft the agreement,” he finished.