North Georgia Bankruptcy Attorney: Tips & Advice if Sued – Successfully Defending a Lawsuit filed by Zwicker & Associates

Over the years, I have successfully  represented hundreds, maybe even  thousands, of clients sued or garnished by the collection firm of Zwicker & Associates.  I’ve managed to help these clients in a variety of ways, whether it’s defending the lawsuit, or erasing the judgment through bankruptcy.

If you’ve been sued by Zwicker & Associates, I can help.   Here’s some practical advice:

1.  KNOW YOUR ENEMY.  Zwicker & Associates is not a creditor.  They’re a debt collector.  Because they’re a debt collector, you are entitled to the protections afforded to you by Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”).    The FDCPA protects you from unfair and unreasonable collection tactics.  If a representative from Zwicker & Associates has violated any of the FDCPA provisions, we can help you fight back.  We will not hesitate to sue Zwicker & Associates on your behalf, seeking monetary damages for FDCPA violations.  Common FDCPA violations include:

  • Garnishing your wages when not allowed;
  • threatening to charge you with a crime;
  • threatening to take your home, car, or other exempt assets;
  • threatening to call your employer, neighbors, or friends;
  • suing or threatening to sue you on a consumer debt barred by the statute of limitations;
  • telling you they are a law office when they are not, or otherwise misrepresenting their services, or misrepresenting their affiliation with the Court or government;
  • cursing you, or using language intended to unreasonable abuse you;
  • calling you at work when they have been put on notice that you are not allowed to receive personal calls there;
  • calling you at a time or place know to them to be inconvenient to you;
  • misrepresenting the amount owed;
  • misrepresenting your right to dispute an account in collections;
  • misrepresenting the status of the case in a judicial or court proceeding;

Other conduct may also violate collection laws and may be a tort, such as invasion of privacy. I regularly see new collection tactics that simply amaze me in their boldness and disregard for the law.  Zwicker & Associates recently settled a class action lawsuit for FDCPA violations – this settlement was simply a cost of doing business.  There is no evidence whatsoever that FDCPA violations no longer continue.

Collection laws also apply to debt buyers who purchase the account when it is in default, collection agencies, lawyers, and law firms who may call or write to you while attempting to collect a consumer debt.

Whatever the circumstances leading to your present situation, no one deserves to be victimized by overly aggressive debt collectors. These collectors sometimes completely ignore the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act . When they do so, I am prepared to advise you and possibly help you.

Call our office for your free case analysis, and we will tell you if you’ve got a valid claim.

Interestingly, the following excerpt was posted on news website for the California Bar Association:

KENNETH D. ZWICKER 46, of Chatsworth CA, a relative and former associate of Zwicker and Associates was summarily disbarred Aug. 21, 2005, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the FDCPA.. Zwicker was also convicted of one count of mail fraud in 2003 and placed on interim suspension in 2004. Because the offense was a felony that involved moral turpitude, he was summarily disbarred.

You should know that Zwicker & Associates or its client has likely purchased your debt from the original creditor or another collector.  When purchasing debt, the buyer does not pay anywhere near 100% of the value of the note.  For example, if you owe $10,000 to the original creditor, it’s likely that Zwicker & Associates or its client purchased the receivable for pennies on the dollar – maybe for as low as 15%, (or $1,500, in our example).  That means that you may be able to settle the matter for pennies on the dollar.  If Zwicker & Associates bought the receivable for $1,500, they may settle for $3,000.  This is a “win-win” settlement.  You’ve just settled your debt for only 30% of your balance, and Zwicker & Associates or its client has doubled their investment.

An ex-employee recently posted the following article about the shady inside operations of Zwicker & Associates:

I worked for Zwicker once upon a time and I can definitely help you!!!

AUTHOR: Denis – E. Hampstead (U.S.A.)

SUBMITTED: Friday, March 27, 2009

POSTED: Friday, March 27, 2009 Hi Kim,

I worked in the collection industry, in the Boston area, for over six years during the late 1980s through the early 1990s. I worked my way up to middle management at three national collection agencies and three collection law firms, Zwicker included.

In 1994, I left the collection industry and joined the lending industry, where I was very happy through the end of 2008. Like thousands of others in the lending industry, I lost my career and my life savings, with the crash of the finance and lending industries. Subsequently, I reluctantly returned to the collection industry and Zwicker & Associates, in an attempt to supplement my income and put food on the table.

In any event, I left after just two short months as I came to realize that Zwicker had not evolved professionally, in any facet of their operation and their collection ethics were worse than I even remembered. to on a professional level and their business ethics or worse than I even remembered.

Zwicker &Associates breaks down into two basic sides of operations, which we will refer to as the front side and the backside.

The front side consists of attorneys, sales and administrative support staff, human resources and technical support. The primary function of the front side is to fabricate and maintain an appearance of integrity, professionalism, ethical standard and employee credibility. Maintaining this type of facade allows them to lure fresh collection placements from credit card companies, bank and retail clients, as well as the occasional debt purchasing company that runs around buying really old accounts, for pennies on the dollar and placing them with companies like Zwicker.

The backside consists of approximately 100 collectors who are all paid a base salary and monthly commissions. The monthly commissions are calculated according to how much money the collector recovers during the course of the calendar month. A recovery goal is established for the collector based on their hourly rate. Once the collector reaches the recovery goal, they are paid a percentage of anything they can collect beyond the goal.

The majority of the collectors at Zwicker, have no educational or professional background and have a marginal understanding of collection laws and practices, at best. They literally live from paycheck to paycheck and many have extremely poor credit. Zwicker has had to settle many lawsuits over the years stemming from complaints filed against them as a result of collection law violations.

Although they represent themselves to be a law firm, which is technically correct, they are nothing more than a collection agency and are regulated as such. I know firsthand that the experienced collectors at Zwicker & Associates have a talent for impersonating a legitimate legal professional for the sole purpose of intimidating, bullying and manipulating money out of people.

Here is the good part: as a resident of Texas, you are guaranteed consumer protection from the Texas Attorney General Office, as well as the Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; FDCPA 95-109.

A common practice in the buying and reselling up of old collection accounts, is for collectors to accept settlements, leaving the consumer to believe that the account is paid in full, when in fact, they apply your settlement payment then close the account with a balance and resell it to another purchaser.

When the collector told you that you are subject to the laws of the state of Massachusetts, as opposed to your home state of Texas, he or she was not only wrong, but in direct violation of Texas and Federal law.

You should also know that it is also violation of law for a debt collector to insinuate,threaten legal action.

Let’s recap, shall we?

1) Zwicker is in direct and deliberate violation of Federal and state consumer protection laws for failure to acknowledge your legitimate dispute and furnish documentation of the debt allegedly owed.

2) Zwicker is in direct violation of Federal and state laws for intentionally misrepresenting jurisdiction of collection laws, for the sole purpose of attempting to disarm you of your consumer rights under Texas law.

3) Zwicker is in violation of Federal and state law for threatening legal action and wage garnishment, when they clearly have no intention of taking such action, nor is it legal to do so under Texas law.

Were I in your shoes, I would file a complaint with the Federal trade commission, and the Texas Attorney General Office in writing and enclose any and all supporting documentation.

I would also send Zwicker a certified letter, instructing them to cease any and all communications immediately.

You never mentioned whether or not they reported this account to your credit report. If that is the case, then Zwicker is also in violation of the fair credit reporting act as well.

It is extremely important that you understand that you were speaking to a collector that could have cared less whether you all the money or not. His one main concern was to tell you what ever it took to get you to pay the money in order to force himself closer to commission.

GOOD LUCK!!!

2.  BEWARE OF SETTLEMENT WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY REPRESENTING YOU.  The golden rule with regard to debt settlements is “get it in writing!”   You should always have your own attorney review any proposed consent judgment or settlement agreement.   Mr. Zwicker’s office doesn’t represent you, so you should be skeptical about any proposed settlement offers.  The settlement should state that your credit will reflect that the account is settled and paid in full when the settlement amount is paid.

3.  KNOW YOUR OPTIONS.  When you’re sued, you have a number of options.

First of all, explore any possible defenses to the lawsuit.  For example, it’s possible that the lawsuit was filed after expiration of the applicable statute of limitations.  If so, an Answer can be filed raising the defense, and the case can be thrown-out by virtue of a Motion to Dismiss or a Motion for Summary Judgment

If the lawsuit was filed to recover a post-repossession deficiency on a repossessed vehicle, you may have several technical defenses based upon Georgia’s adaptation of the Uniform Commercial Code.  Did you receive a certified letter notifying you of your 10-day right of redemption?  Does the size of the deficiency imply that the vehicle wasn’t sold in a commercially reasonable manner?  These are defenses that we can explore.

4.  BANKRUPTCY AUTOMATICALLY STOPS LAWSUITS AND GARNISHMENTS.  Anoter option is a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Our office can file a bankruptcy for as little as $344 down.  The mere filing of the bankruptcy will stop all collection activity, including the lawsuit or garnishment.   We do all the work.  Typically, you keep your assets, and you pay absolutely nothing to Mr. Zwicker and his Associates.  A chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to give you a fresh financial start.

The worst thing you can do is “nothing.”  That’s what Zwicker is hoping will happen – if you do nothing, they’ll get a default judgment and garnish your paycheck and put a lien on your property.  Fight back.   If you’re looking for an aggressive advocate with experience; an attorney who enjoys fighting  Zwicker & Associates, give me a call, or send me an e-mail.

Brian R. Cahn | brc@perrottalaw.com | 770-382-8900

Perrotta, Cahn & Prieto, P.C. | www.northgabankruptcy.com

Atlanta | Dallas | Cartersville | Calhoun | Cartersville

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Posted on April 6, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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