Sonya Smith-Valentine, Esq.

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Debt Collectors Need to Play by the Rules

If you’re behind in paying your bills, you may be contacted by a debt collector — someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them. You have the right to be treated […]

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Bogus Text Messages Offering Prizes

If you’ve ever gotten a text message on your cell phone telling you that you’ve won a free prize, you’re not alone. During the past year, the FTC has gotten tens of thousands of complaints about unsolicited text messages. Many of the messages claim that you’ve won a free prize, and feature a link to […]

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But I Never Ordered Anything…

What if a company called you, demanding you pay for a product they said you ordered? What if they threatened you if you didn’t pay? And what if you never actually ordered that product, never even saw it, and never promised to pay for anything? A recently-filed FTC case claims that Instant Response Systems, a […]

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Attorney of the Month

Hyatt Legal Plans recognizes Sonya Smith-Valentine as January’s Attorney of the Month. A satisfied plan member contacted Hyatt to let us know about the outstanding experience he had while working with Sonya.   You can read Hyatt’s Attorney Spotlight for January 2013 here.

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Worldwide Asset Cases in Maryland District Court Dismissed

Maryland’s District Court Chief Judge dismissed 3,168 debt collection cases against Maryland residents. The Judge’s order follows a settlement and final order in a federal class action against Worldwide Asset Purchasing issued by U.S. District Court. In the federal case, it was alleged that Worldwide was not properly registered or licensed, misstated amounts owed and […]

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Stop Robocalling Me!

The FTC has filed a complaint against Nelson Gamble & Associates LLC, Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight LLC, BlackRock Professional Corporation, and Mekhia Capital LLC alleging that the companies’ recorded sales pitches claimed to be “public service announcements.” People were told that because President Obama wants to help consumers get out of debt, people can settle for 50% or less […]

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Maryland Reaches Settlement With LVNV Funding For Violations

The Maryland State Collection Agency Licensing Board has reached an agreement with LVNV Funding LLC and Resurgent Capital Services, L.P. to settle alleged violations of federal and state debt collection laws. The settlement includes a penalty of $1 million, agreement to dismiss more than 3,500 cases pending in Maryland district courts having balances of over […]

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TCPA Class Action against AllianceOne Settled

The is a significant settlement with a debt collection agency in a case involving automated dialers and messages used to contact consumers on cell phones. The case against AllianceOne Receivables Management, Inc. is a class action. The lawsuit alleges that AllianceOne violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by calling cell phones using an automated dialer or with […]

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FTC Halts “Free Gas For Life” Scam

The Federal Trade Commission put a stop to an online operation that allegedly lured consumers with a supposedly “free” book falsely promising that it would show them how to power their cars and homes at no cost, and then billed them for an online magazine they never ordered. The defendants behind the alleged scam have […]

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Bank Sells Credit Card Debts with Faulty Records

A recent article in the American Banker highlights some of the problems with practice of selling old debts to debt buying companies.  It appears Bank of America (just like many other banks) sold portfolios of credit card debt to CACH LLC.  A portion of the debt sold was either discharged in bankruptcy or already repaid.  The […]

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