Get Out of Debt Guy - Steve Rhode

The Debt Collection Firms Hate the CFPB Today

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking action against two medical debt collection law firms and their president for falsely representing that letters and calls were from attorneys attempting to collect on a debt when no attorney had yet reviewed the account.

The law firms also did not ensure the accuracy of the consumer information they furnished to credit reporting companies and used improperly notarized affidavits in lawsuits filed against consumers. The practices affected thousands of individuals. The CFPB is ordering Works and Lentz, Inc., Works and Lentz of Tulsa, Inc., and their president, Harry A. Lentz, Jr., to provide $577,135 in relief to harmed consumers, correct their business practices, and pay a $78,800 penalty.

“Misrepresenting that a lawyer is involved in a debt collection action gives the collection a false weight,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Works and Lentz intimidated consumers with unfounded threats of potential lawsuits. Today we are putting a stop to that and getting consumers the relief they deserve.”

Works and Lentz, Inc. and Works and Lentz of Tulsa, Inc., are debt collection law firms based in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Tulsa, Okla. Harry A. Lentz, Jr. is the president of both. The firms primarily collect medical debt on behalf of hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers in the state of Oklahoma. Annually, the firms attempt collection on approximately 700,000 debts totaling more than $500 million. Like many other debt collectors, the firms collect delinquent accounts and are paid based on how much money they collect.

The CFPB’s investigation found that the firms engaged in illegal debt collection practices. Their standard practices implied lawyers were reviewing the veracity of a consumer’s medical debt when no lawyer had, in fact, reviewed the file. The CFPB order charges the company with violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act from January 2012 to August 2016. Specifically, the CFPB found that collectively Works and Lentz:

Enforcement Action

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions violating federal consumer financial laws. Works and Lentz violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Today the CFPB is ordering the two firms and their president to:

The consent order filed today is available here.