On January 9, 2017, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) entered a Consent Order against Oklahoma medical debt collection law firm Works and Lentz. As reported by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman, the CFPB accused Works and Lentz attorneys with numerous violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) in making false representations through calls and letters in which the debt collector attempts to collect debt without first performing any meaningful review on a consumer’s account. If this firm has tried to collect from you, you may be entitled to $1,000.00, plus free legal help. Fill out the webform on the right of this page for more information!
Works and Lentz Collection Agency, and its President, attorney Harry Lentz, have stipulated that the facts described in the Consent Order describing the violations of the FDCPA will be taken as true without further proof in any proceeding to enforce the Consent Order. “Misrepresenting that a lawyer is involved in a debt collection action gives the collection a false weight,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said Monday in a news release. “Works & Lentz intimidated consumers with unfounded threats of potential lawsuits.” The Consent Order additionally states that Works and Lentz did not ensure accuracy of information it provided to credit reporting agencies and used improperly notarized affidavits in lawsuits filed against consumers in Oklahoma County and Tulsa County. Because medical bill debt collection laws prohibit these practices, the CFPB is requiring Works and Lentz and its president, Harry A. Lentz, personally, to refund over half a million dollars in payments to harmed consumers, plus pay a $78,800 penalty to the federal government.
Works and Lentz collects medical debt on behalf of the healthcare providers, doctors and hospitals in the entire state of Oklahoma. Some of their clients include OSU Medical Center, St. John Hospital, Saint Francis Health System, and EMSA. According to the CFPB, Works and Lentz collects on a staggering number of accounts every year — 700,000 consumer accounts worth over $500 million dollars. Works and Lentz is paid on a contingency basis for its collection work, meaning it gets paid a percentage of whatever it is able to collect, and this work has generated millions of dollars in revenue for the company.
Calling consumers and implying that lawyer from Works and Lentz is involved. Works and Lentz has many non-attorney debt collectors working for them. The Consent Order states that these non-attorney collectors gave some consumers the false impression that they been working with lawyers in creating a decision on their account. However, a lawyer never reviews many accounts before the firm starts calling consumers.
Sending collection letters that imply it is from a lawyer. Works & Lentz uses a form “dunning” letter that identifies numerous attorneys that work for the firm. These letters are signed with a computerized signature by one of the attorneys. Some of these letters threaten consumers to pay their debts or face a lawsuit, however the CFPB has determined that despite the threat of litigation, many of these accounts have not been reviewed by any lawyer.
Submit reports for credit reporting without policies for accuracy. Works & Lentz furnishes information to consumer credit reporting companies for over 1 million consumers even though the firm doesn’t have any written procedures or policies about the accuracy of such information.
Submitted falsely notarized affidavits in lawsuits filed against consumers. In lawsuits filed in the Tulsa County and Oklahoma County Courthouse, Works & Lentz solicited affidavits from its clients with information about the client and the debt. However, the CFPB determined that when these affidavits were returned to Works & Lentz with a nonnotarized signature, employees of Works and Lentz notarized the affidavit without verifying the truth of the signature and would then file the affidavit in the lawsuit against a consumer.
If you have received a demand letter from Works & Lentz, or seen this company on your credit report, we’d like to hear from you. The FDCPA provides protection to consumers from debt collectors seeking to collect medical debt. These protections include representation by a consumer attorney like Paramount Law without any charge to you, the consumer. The debt collector that has violated the FDCPA is responsible for your attorney fees! In addition, the FDCPA provides for statutory monetary damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages that are able to be proven by the consumer.
Works & Lentz is just one of over 6,000 companies that are part of the debt collection industry. The CFPB has previously reported that as many as 1 in 3 consumers contacted for repayment of debt report that the wrong amount was attempted to be collected.
If Saint Francis Hospital, St. John’s Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Integris, EMSA or any other healthcare provider in Tulsa or Oklahoma City has engaged Works and Lentz to collect your medical debt, call Paramount Law for a free consultation regarding your rights. Additionally, should you find Works & Lentz appears on your credit report (you can check your report for free at www.creditkarma.com), then please call Paramount Law for a free legal consultation regarding your rights under the FDCPA and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You may be entitled to up to $1,000.00, plus free legal help!