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Valentine & Kebartas Inc or V&K is a third-party collection agency based in Massachusetts. V&K has received consumer complaints alleging serious violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), including illegal communication tactics and misrepresentation. If you have been contacted by V&K, understand your rights before taking action.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Valentine & Kebartas, LLC was founded in 1994 and incorporated locally in Lawrence, MA in 2015. The BBB opened its file in 2005. V&K is listed as a collection agency with a total staff of 400 people. Buzzfile lists V&K’s founding as 2015, the year of their incorporation, and estimates their annual revenue at $6 million and the size of their headquarters staff at 145 people.
According to its website, V&K has offices in Massachusetts, Idaho, Florida, and Panama. They offer full-service third-party collection services to lenders and service providers from a variety of industries, including bank card lenders; retail lenders and merchants; telecommunications companies; education institutes; utility companies; commercial leasing companies; insurance providers; and government agencies.
Their collection services include several different specializations. Their pre-collection program is for “accounts that are past-due but not ready to be placed for third-party collection.” Their third-party division employs agents who collect delinquent debt using initial data scrub and scoring; telephone campaigns; collection letters; credit reporting; and skip tracing. Their “near shore collections” division employs a staff in their office in Panama that allows them to use “the best of American management, systems, and processes with the advantages of [a …call center in Panama [where] Panamanian economics allow us to afford high caliber collectors…with analytical skills that allow them to effectively handle complex collection scenarios.”
Their associations page lists over a dozen professional affiliations. Consumer resources and references to consumer protection laws and agencies can only be found by clicking the Frequently Asked Questions link on the home page.
The BBB has closed 12 complaints against Valentine & Kebartas in the past three years, with 3 closed in the past 12 months. Most of these complaints allege problems with billing and collections. Since March 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 26 complaints against V&K. Justia lists at least 9 cases of civil litigation involving Valentine & Kebartas.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases against Valentine & Kebartas Inc
Many of the complaints filed against V&K with the CFPB indicate problems with communication tactics. In June 2017, a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia issued a dissenting opinion in a case in which a plaintiff had initially prevailed in a complaint alleging V&K had violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by making an excessive number of phone calls in their effort to collect a debt. The majority of the Supreme Court on appeal reversed the trial jury’s findings that V&K’s conduct in this case represented a violation of FDCPA Section 1692d(5) and the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act (WVCCPA) Sections 46A-2-122-129a.
Specifically, the WVCCPA provides that:
“No debt collector shall unreasonably oppress or abuse any person in connection with the collection of or attempt to collect any claim alleged to be due and owing by that personor another. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is deemed to violate this section:
…(d) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously, or at unusual times or at times known to be inconvenient, with intent to annoy, abuse, oppress or threaten any person at the called number.”
Similarly, the FDCPA prohibits “[c]ausing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.” Initially, the trial court in this case found that V&K “had caused [the plaintiff’s] telephone to ring 252 times over an eight-month period,” and “that after an initial two-week period of reasonable attempts to contact respondent, the petitioner immediately thereafter ‘ramped up its collection campaign,’ by placing after an initial 22 unanswered calls, ‘6 [more] calls with three separated by less than an hour. The next day…five additional calls…with as little as twenty-eight (28) minutes separating calls. None of these calls were answered. [And on] the third day six calls…with some…separated by only thirty-two (32) minutes.’”
The trial court found that the volume and frequency of collection calls was sufficient to prove intent on the part of V&K to “annoy, abuse or harass” the plaintiff. The appeal overturned this decision, and the dissenting judge cited case law to support his opinion that the decision to overturn represented a “complete departure from the overwhelming consensus of courts addressing this issue” which he therefore regards as “entirely unsupported by the majority’s scant and illogical analysis.”
Valentine & Kebartas, Inc
15 Union Street
Lawrence, MA 01840
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.
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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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