Solomon and Solomon, P.C. (S&S) is a New York-based law firm that specializes in third-party debt collection. S&S has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) such as failure to verify debts and attempting to collect debts not owed. If you have been contacted by Solomon and Solomon, make sure you understand your rights before responding.
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Is Solomon & Solomon, P.C. a scam?
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Solomon & Solomon, P.C. was founded in 1966 and incorporated in 1976. The BBB established its profile page in 1992. S&S is listed as a collection agency. Buzzfile estimates S&S’ annual revenue at $17.8 million, and the size of its headquarters staff at 200 people.
According to its website, Solomon and Solomon “is a full-service law firm concentrating in debt collection and litigation. S&S states that its mission is to “provide ‘simply the best’ collection and litigation services, ensuring long-lasting business relationships focused on performance and service…and built on integrity.”
As a full-service collection agency, Solomon and Solomon offers early-out, pre-charge off, primary, secondary, and tertiary collections and judgment enforcement. S&S carries out these services with “a professional staff of debt collectors, skip tracers, and asset locators; a fully integrated state-of-the-art call management system with a sophisticated predictive dialer and significant expansion capability; an innovative and customized letter series; strategic account scoring and data mining; credit bureau reporting; extensive high volume processing capabilities; advanced skip tracing techniques; night and weekend staff; and professional on-site training.”
S&S’ litigation division “uses the most appropriate and cost-effective legal methods to collect delinquent receivables… in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.” S&S employs “an impressive network of forwarding attorneys” for cases outside these areas. S&S also litigates bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings.
Solomon and Solomon “serves numerous clients representing a variety of industries, including, but not limited to: telecommunications, utilities, banking, credit card litigation, higher education, and subrogation.” S&S has posted on their site a general legal disclaimer, but they do not provide information about regulatory compliance or any references or links to consumer protection resources, laws, or enforcement agencies.
The BBB has closed 25 complaints against Solomon and Solomon, P.C. in the past three years, with 11 closed in the past 12 months. All those complaints allege problems with billing and collections. Since May 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 33 complaints about S&S. Justia lists at least 5 cases of civil litigation involving Solomon and Solomon.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases against Solomon and Solomon, P.C
In January 2014, in United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, a judge issued an Opinion in a case alleging Solomon and Solomon, P.C had violated provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In this case, the plaintiffs had taken out a student loan through the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESSA) in the amount of $20,000. At some point, they defaulted on the loan, and HESSA sent the loan to S&S for collection. The collection agreement between HESSA and S&S stated that S&S “agreed to handle all accounts referred…on a contingent fee basis, with the fee to be calculated on the basis of monies collected… from debtors referred…by HESAA for handling.” The fee between the two parties was set at 22%.
Solomon and Solomon sent letters to the plaintiffs on September 13 and September 14, 2012. The September 13 letter stated, in part, that the “amount due as of 9/13/2012 is $25,385.66,” and that, “attorney fees of 22% of the claim referred are due to the State pursuant to the terms of the note(s) and NJ Regulation 9A: 10-6.16(b).” The September 24 letter was in response to a dispute by the plaintiffs’ attorney and stated that “that the amount demanded included $4,561.25, representing ‘22% of the amount of unpaid principal and interest referred to our office.’”
The plaintiffs’ complaint centered on Solomon and Solomon’s statement of the amount due. S&S had agreed to accept the debt on a contingency basis, and that they were entitled to collect a 22% fee on monies collected. When the letters were sent, no monies had yet been collected. The plaintiffs cited a violation of the FDCPA prohibitions against “false deceptive, or misleading representations by alleging that the collection letters demanded an amount which included attorneys’ fees not yet accrued and by alleging that the collection letters asserted that HESAA was legally entitled to collection cost of 22% of the ‘claim referred,’” rather than only 22% of the total collected. In addition, they claimed a violation of the prohibition against “unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt, again by alleging that the collection letters demanded an amount which included attorneys’ fees not yet accrued and…based on the value of the ‘claim referred.’”
Solomon and Solomon, P.C argued that the plaintiffs were being too precise in their reading of the collection letter. The court upheld the plaintiffs’ charges, but dismissed their motion to certify the case a class action and their requests for injunctive and declaratory relief.
Solomon and Solomon, P.C.
Five Columbia Circle
Albany, New York 12203
Telephone: (800) 259-6723
Understanding Your Debt Collection Rights
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are federal laws that regulate the collections industry. The FDCPA prohibits actions such as using tactics intended to harass, oppress, or annoy consumers. The FCRA regulates how collection agencies report information to credit reporting agencies. Additional consumer protection laws include the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). These laws are enforced by federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The complaints above illustrate why it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities under these laws when you are attempting to communicate with collection agencies.
In addition, these laws provide individuals with a means to seek monetary damages in court. For example, the FDCPA allows consumers to recover damages of up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs, in cases proving violations of the FDCPA. Seek legal assistance if you are trying to resolve a dispute with a collection agency.
Your debt harassment checklist:
- You are receiving multiple calls per week from third party collection agencies
- You are receiving early morning or late night calls from debt collectors
- You are recieving calls at work from a debt collection agency
- Debt collectors are calling your friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Collectors are threatening you with violence, a lawsuit, or arrest
- A debt collector attempts to collect more than you owe
- You are being threatened with negative credit reporting
- A debt collector attempts to intimidate you
- Criminal accusations are being made towards you
- Use of obscene language during an attempt to collect
- Automated robocalls are being made to your phone in an attempt to collect
If you’ve been harassed by debt collectors and even one of these has happened to you, 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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