Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sues Law Firm for Misleading Consumers

The firm allegedly deceived consumers with misleading calls and letters about debt collection

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sues Law Firm for Misleading Consumers
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April 18, 2017

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has sued law firm Weltman, Weinberg & Reis for allegedly misleading consumers about debt collection.

The firm is accused of making statements on collection calls and in collection letters that created the impression that the attorneys had made a detailed review of the consumer's file. In reality, this impression was false because the attorneys had not made such a review.

"Debt collectors who misrepresent that a lawyer was involved in reviewing a consumer's account are implying a level of authority and professional judgement that is just not true," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "Weltman, Weinberg & Reis masked millions of debt collection letters and phone calls with the professional standards associated with attorneys when attorneys were, in fact, not involved. Such illegal behavior will not be allowed in the debt collection market."

Weltman, Weinberg & Reis, based in Cleveland, Ohio, regularly collects debt related to credit cards, installment loan contracts, mortgage loans, and student loans. It collects on debts nationwide but only files collection lawsuits in seven states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

The CFPB specifically accuses the firm of sending collection letters falsely implying that they were from a lawyer and of calling consumers and falsely implying that a lawyer was involved in the matter.

The agency hopes to stop these unlawful practices and get compensation for consumers harmed by them.