The absolute WRONG way to go about collecting a debt

Erie lawyer Larry D’Ambrosio is accused of orchestrating false hearings held in the mock courtroom to deceive and bully debtors into paying debts. He, along with a collection agency called Unicredit America, Inc. allegedly set up a fake court room in their offices, had people dressed as court officers go out and serve subpoenas directing people to show up to the fake court room. The Pennsylvania Attorney General has, thankfully, shut these operations down and is now seeking an order to close the collection agency.
These actions of Mr. D’Ambrosio and Unicredit, if true, are egregious violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). These kinds of violations happen more frequently than you may know. Not all violations of the FDCPA make the news. But still, one has to wonder, what the hell these guys were thinking if they truly were pulling a scam like this. There are a lot of lessons in this story for debt collectors.
My advice to debt collectors. If you really want to succeed in this business, don’t stray outside of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The fact is that you don’t need to even go near its borders between permissible and impermissible behavior to collect debt successfully. The days of hard core bulling a debtor have been over for decades. Consumers have access to free or low cost attorneys and information about their rights under the FDCPA from the internet. These days, charm wins people over.
A far better approach to debt collection is to “partner” with consumers to work together to resolve their debt issues. By working with a consumer, you get far more cooperation from him. Further still, if you are collecting from someone, chances are excellent that the debtor has other people pursuing him for money as well. You are in a race for that money. By showing the consumer a little respect and cooperation, your bill goes to the top of his pile of bills.
It is not always possible, however, to secure a debtor’s cooperation. At that juncture, your only choice is to file a lawsuit and proceed judicially inside a real court room with a real judge. Doing what D’Ambrosio and Unicredit are accused of simply leads to trouble.
Whatever D’Ambrosio and Unicredit were thinking, we may never know. What we do know is that the FDCPA governs debt collectors. If you are collecting consumer type debts, you must know the FDCPA. Operating in ignorance of it is a large and costly mistake.

If you have any debt collection related questions, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation.  Visit our website at  For more information about collection law, follow our blog at or call (888) 293-2882.


This entry was posted on Friday, November 5th, 2010 and is filed under Collection Laws Michigan . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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