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Selip & Stylianou, LLP is a law firm based in New York that specializes in debt collection litigation. Selip & Stylianou have received consumer complaints alleging serious violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), such as taking or threatening to take illegal actions. If you have been contacted by Selip & Stylianou, make sure you understand your rights before responding.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Selip & Stylianou, LLC was founded and incorporated locally in Woodbury, NY in 2003. The BBB opened its file in 2006. Prior to January 2015, Selip & Stylianou did business as Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP, and the BBB has posted a notice that “the Law Office of Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP [allegedly] engage[d] in numerous deceptive business tactics to collect…debts.” Selip & Stylianou is listed as both a collection agency and a law firm. Buzzfile estimates Selip & Stylianou’s annual revenue at $26.5 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 123 people.
Selip & Stylianou’s website provides very little information to site visitors. The home page allows five options: consumer login; client login; contact us; about us; and community involvement. The consumer and client login pages require pre-registration and do not provide any information about company policies and practices. The Contact Us page provides mailing addresses, phone numbers, and a web-based contact form, with the following standard disclaimer: “This communication is from a debt collector. This is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information will be used for that purpose.”
The firm profile on the About Us page states only that “Selip and Stylianou, LLP provides its clients with thorough, complete and comprehensive legal representation throughout the entire states of New York and New Jersey in the practice area of Creditor’s Rights litigation and consulting.” The Community Involvement page provides a list of charitable giving recipients.
The BBB has closed 17 complaints against Selip & Stylianouin the past three years, and since April2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 25 complaints. According to the BBB, while operating as Cohen & Slamowitz, “consumers allege this company attempt[ed] to collect for debt already paid off or arbitrated by another firm, garnished consumer paychecks without consent, called consumers at work, threatened and bullied customers that they [would] be taken to court if they [did] not pay, and, in one case, removed over $15,000 from a consumer’s credit card for payment of debt she disputed.” Justia lists at least 23 cases of civil litigation naming these firms as defendants.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases against Selip & Stylianou LLP
In September 2013, in United States District Court, Western District of New York, a judge issued a judge issued a Decision and Order in a case alleging Selip & Stylianou (then Cohen & Slamowitz [C&S]) had violated provisions of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). In this case, the plaintiff had incurred and defaulted on a credit card debt. The debt was transferred from HSBC Bank, Nevada, N.A. to Midland Credit, who hired C&S to collect it. The plaintiff received a letter from C&S initially indicating the balance owed was $1835.31, but about two weeks later in a subsequent letter, the amount owed had increased by $147.58. C&S claimed that $140.00 of this increase was the result of their having “mailed a check, along with a summons and complaint, to Buffalo City Court to pay the required filing fee for a newly instituted debt-recovery action against” the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed that the increase violated the FDCPA. Specifically, the plaintiff cited “Sections1692e, 1692f, 1692g, as well as several of their subsections – 1692e(2)(A), 1692e(B), 1692e(10), 1692e(5), and 1692f(1). Generally, these provisions “make it unlawful for a debt collector to ‘use unfair or unconscionable’ or ‘false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt.’…In particular, Section 1692e(2) prohibits the false representation of ‘the character, amount, or legal status of any debt.’ And Section 1692f(1) prohibits the ‘collection of any amount (including interest, fee, charge, or expense incidental to the principal obligation) unless such amount is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law.’”
After a series of procedural motions by both parties, the plaintiff prevailed in his effort to prove C&S (Selip & Stylianou) had violated the stated provisions of the FDCPA, with two exceptions: 1) Section 1692g(a), which would have required C&S to send the plaintiff a validation notice for the disputed $140 charge; and 2) Section 1692e(5) prohibiting debt collectors from threatening to take action that cannot be legally taken or that they do not intend to take, since C&S “could, and fully intended to, take legal action against” the plaintiff. The plaintiff also prevailed in his effort to certify the case as a class action lawsuit.
Selip & Stylianou, LLP
P.O. Box 9004
Woodbury, NY 11797-9004
Telephone: (800) 293-6006
Understanding your Debt Collection Rights
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The FDCPA regulates the behavior of collection agencies by prohibiting actions such as the use of abusive or threatening language; harassment; or the use of false or misleading information to collect a debt.
The FCRA regulates how collection agencies and creditors report delinquent debts to credit reporting agencies. Additional consumer protection laws include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA). The complaint above illustrates how these laws can be extremely effective tools to hold accountable collection agencies who fail to adhere to their provisions.
These laws also provide individuals with a means to seek monetary damages in court. For example, the FDCPA allows consumers who have been violated to recover damages of up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs.
Seek legal assistance to find the relief you may be entitled to if you are having difficulty resolving disputes with a debt collection agency.
If you’ve been harassed by debt collectors, we can help. We will fight for your rights.
The Lemberg Law legal team is committed to holding debt collectors accountable, so complete our form for a FREE case evaluation, or call 844-685-9200.
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