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- How Can I Deal with Stillman Law Office?
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Stillman Law Office or SLO is a law firm based in Michigan that specializes in third-party debt collection. SLO has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) such as attempting to collect debts not owed and threatening to take actions that cannot legally be taken. If you have been contacted by SLO, understand your rights before responding.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Stillman Law Offices was founded in 1994, and the BBB established its profile page in 2008. The BBB lists SLO as a law firm. Buzzfile estimates SLO’s annual revenue at $3.5 million and the size of its staff at 40 people.
According to its website, Stillman Law Office employs an “aggressive, skilled attorney staff…prepared to represent clients in all areas of creditors’ rights.” SLO’s “main focus is commercial and retail debt collection and litigation throughout the entire state of Michigan, and nationally, through an extensive co-counsel forwarding network.” SLO “routinely handles insurance subrogation, equipment lease litigation, foreclosures, repossession actions, evictions, and creditors’ rights cases in bankruptcy.”
Stillman Law Office’s clients “range in size from small organizations to large, international companies.” Their client list includes insurance companies, equipment lessors, financial institutions, collection agencies, hospitals, and automotive lenders. SLO is primarily a law firm. However, their legal staff specializes in collecting delinquent debt. Because they are a law firm, SLO is also able to offer its creditor-clients remedies such as “law suits, judgments, garnishments (wage and bank), attachments, and repossessions.”
As a licensed collection agency, Stillman Law Office offers a full range of services, including third-party collections; insurance subrogation; equipment lease litigation, including aggressive pursuit of equipment return orders; repossession; bankruptcy relief, including motions to lift stay, objections to valuation, and adversary complaints to determine non-dischargeablility; and real estate title and probate claims.”
Stillman Law Office’s website stresses that it is an aggressive agency focused on asserting creditors’ rights in all cases it receives. The payment portal displays the mandated disclosure, “This is an attempt by a debt collector to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.” It also contains an “Apply for Hardship” link that requests detailed personal and financial information. However, there are no consumer protection resources, and there are no links or references to consumer protection laws or enforcement agencies.
The BBB has closed 6 complaints against Stillman Law Office in the past three years, with 1 closed in the past 12 months. All of those complaints allege problems with billing and collections. Since July 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 20 complaints about SLO. Justia lists at least 3 cases of civil litigation involving Stillman Law Office.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases against Stillman Law Office
In August 2015, in United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, a judge issued an Opinion in a case alleging Stillman Law Office had violated provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Michigan Collection Practices Act (MCPA), Michigan Comp. Laws, and the Michigan Occupational Code (MOC). The August 2015 hearing was held to determine the outcome of SLO’s request to dismiss the charges. The initial challenge was whether the plaintiff had the right to bring charges against Michael Stillman, the owner of the law firm, as a private individual bearing personal liability for the charges outlined in the complaint. The court denied Mr. Stillman’s request to dismiss these charges and upheld the plaintiff’s right under both the FDCPA and Michigan state laws to hold both SLO and Michael Stillman equally liable for the violations she claimed in the complaint.
As or the actual violations, the plaintiff claimed that SLO violated FDCPA provisions prohibiting “false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt” and against “unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt.” The basis for this claim was that the debt was too old; therefore, collection efforts were prohibited by the expiration of the statute of limitations. During the hearing, Stillman Law Office presented evidence that this was not the case, and the plaintiff conceded, allowing the judge to dismiss those charges. Similarly, Stillman Law Office objected to the plaintiff’s charge that SLO had violated the FDCPA provision against communicating “credit information which is known or which should be known to be false.” The plaintiff did not respond and the charge was dismissed.
However, the plaintiff filed two additional charges. The first was that SLO had violated FDCPA prohibitions against “false representation of ‘the character, amount, or
legal status of any debt’” and against “false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt” by sending several letters with conflicting amounts owed that did not specify how much of each balance was the result of fees, interest, and other charges. The other charge was that Stillman Law Office had violated the FDCPA prohibition against contacting any consumer known to be represented by an attorney. Although the judge did not make any final determinations, he did dismiss SLO’s objections, indicating that the plaintiff adequately alleged plausible violations on these counts.
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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.
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, 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.
If a Debt collection is recorded on illegal charges or taking any other action that is against the law, to speak with a representative directly and immediately call 844-685-9200 for a free, no obligation case evaluation. You have every right to maintain debt collectors accountable, and an attorney can help.
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