The Law Office of Dimitrios Kolovos, LLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of a New Jersey consumer against Hayt, Hayt & Landau, LLC and its “client,” First American Acceptance Co., L.L.C., alleging that the Defendants misrepresented the legal status of a consumer debt and charged interest and attorney’s fees where the original consumer contract did not so provide.
The consumer filed her lawsuit in the federal court situated in New Jersey and demanded that judgment be entered against Hayt, Hayt & Landau, LLC and First American Acceptance Co., L.L.C. for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Complaint demands statutory damages, actual damages, attorney’s fees, and the costs of her litigation.
“Consumers must not blindly accept the balances claimed by a debt collector,” says Joseph A. Mullaney, III, attorney for the consumer, “without first determining if the amounts being charged are lawful.”According to the Complaint, the consumer allegedly owed money for a health club contract that was ultimately cancelled by the health club when a fitness instructor may have negligently caused the consumer injury.After being assured by the fitness club that the contract was cancelled and after it refunded money she already paid, the debt has since come back to haunt her.Five years later a junk debt buyer, First American Acceptance Co., L.L.C., contacted her through the law firm of Hayt, Hayt & Landau, LLC to collect the non-existent debt.“Increasingly, original creditors are selling their consumer accounts to junk debt buyers who then try to collect them with a vengeance,” Mullaney says.“Further, these junk debt buyers do not care if there are any defenses to the debt or even if the debt is valid.”
To add insult to injury, the debt collectors then charged the consumer, according to the Complaint, attorney’s fees and interest when the original contract did not even provide for these charges.“A debt collector who adds charges to an alleged balance that are neither called for in the contract nor permitted by law may violate the FDCPA,” according to Mullaney.“If a consumer debtor sees or suspects that charges have been added by a debt collector with no basis in the law or in the original contract,” he continues “the consumer should immediately contact a consumer rights attorney.”