A consumer who had settled a debt with Mel S. Harris and Associates LLC, was making payments pursuant to the settlement agreement, and had no missed or late payments, came to us when she received a dunning letter from Mel Harris regarding the same debt. The letter contains several misrepresentations, we argue.
The dun letter stated that our client's account was "significantly past due," which it was not; our client had made her settlement payments diligently and was completely up to date. The letter went on to propose that our client enter into a settlement (which she had already done) and "satisfy this judgment now," because Mel Harris was "in receipt of information" that our client was a homeowner (which she is not) and a settlement could help her avoid having a lien placed against her home (a threat Mel Harris obviously could not act on).
The letter also asked our client to "please take note" that her debt was accruing interest at "a rate of nine per centum per annum" (which it was not, because under the terms of her settlement agreement, her debt was settled for a flat amount; the settlement agreement made no mention of interest).
The Langel Firm has alleged in federal district court that Mel Harris and Associates violated various provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including provisions prohibiting debt collectors from making false, deceptive or misleading representations in connection with collecting a debt; misrepresenting the character and legal status of the debt as delinquent when in fact the debt was current; and threatening to take action that cannot legally be taken by claiming a right to place a lien against plaintiff's non-existent real property.
D.K. v. Mel S. Harris and Associates, LLC, 7654-12, SDNY.