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West Philly Resident Takes Debt Collectors to Court

A resident of West Philadelphia is alleging that a debt collector has engaged in unlawful practices.

Kimmel & Silverman, P.C. has filed a complaint against national debt collection company Virtuoso Sourcing, Inc., on behalf of Crystal Monroe. The lawsuit was filed on May 21 in United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The complaint alleges that the Aurora, Colo.-based company violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

“The FDCPA is really written towards explaining the rules of the game for debt collectors — what they can do, what they can’t do and what they must never do,” said Monroe’s attorney Craig T. Kimmel.

“Some of the things that must never do is to be abusive, harassing, deceptive and misleading or raise their voice.”

Beginning in February and continuing through May, representatives of Virtuoso Sourcing continuously contacted Monroe in an attempt to collect a debt. Monroe, who is legally blind, said the debt collection stemmed from a Sprint phone bill that ballooned to more than $2,000. She disputes the charges.

Virtuoso’s representatives attempted to collect the debt by calling Monroe’s cell phone on average one to two times a day, causing her to receive more than 10 collection calls a week. Monroe asked Virtuoso to stop calling her, however the calls continued.

The complaint alleges that the debt collectors would speak to Monroe with raised voices when demanding payment, causing her to feel degraded and humiliated.

According to the complaint, Virtuoso collectors claimed they could “make a deal” with Monroe to settle but only if payments were made immediately. Monroe was told that if she did not make payment on the debt, her credit report would be adversely affected and she wouldn’t be able to buy on credit anymore.

Kimmel said if Virtuoso is found to be in violation that the company may be required to pay Monroe as much as $1,000, forgive the debt and report to credit reporting agencies that there is no debt and pay his attorney fees.

Monroe said she turned to Kimmel for assistance after she learned about the free assistance provided by the firm when she attended a community meeting at West Philadelphia High School.

“I was looking for someone who understood that every mistake is not the client’s, businesses make mistakes too,” Monroe said.

Kimmel’s firm has been conducting community outreach to let consumers know that free legal services are available to handle these types of cases.

“This is a free legal service provided for by private attorneys because the law encourages pursuit of unlawful debt collection,” Kimmel said.

Virtuoso could not be reached for comment as of the Tribune’s deadline.

The FDCPA penalizes debt collectors up to $1,000 per violation, gives the consumer the right to stop the calls and requires them to pay any and all attorney fees and costs incurred on behalf of the consumer.

Original story published here:
West Philly Resident Takes Debt Collector to Court

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