Exposing A Debt Collector Who Won’t Follow The FDCPA

To the non beer drinker, there’s only three types of beer in the world. There’s BAD beer. There’s VERY BAD beer. And there’s LESS BAD beer. And so it’s much the same with debt collectors.

This blog is all about the VERY BAD debt collectors. Here I will show you how to background the shady ones along with their company or law firm.

As an example, I will name real names. You will get to see an actual  background check on the notorious lawyers of Cooling &Winter. Cooling & Winter is a prime example because it’s been sued 12 times in 2017 alone. And virtually all the lawsuits against them concern bad debt collection practices. So you’re in for a real treat!

When we’re done you’ll be able to expose a debt collector’s lies, ferret out their half truths and expose their prior bad dealings. You can then use this information to negotiate your own settlement!

As a special bonus, I’ll even show you how to blast a crooked debt collector out of business. For believe it or not, you have powerful tools to make unscrupulous debt collectors play by the rules.

This includes enlisting the aid of honest debt collectors, the BBB, the media and even the debt collector’s own licensing board and trade associations. It could also mean getting help from consumer rights advocates and powerful government regulators.

Can I Enlist The Help Of A Plaintiff’s Attorney?
Most plaintiff attorneys won’t dare use these weapons of mass destruction. Because unlike you, they don’t really want to go nuclear. To them, it’s a big game of catch and release. They see the debt collector as a wild animal that should be caught, fined and let go again.

No attorney makes money off of destroying big bad debt collectors. They make money off of suing them and collecting their attorney’s fees. (again and again). So it’s not in their interest for you to blast them out of commission. It’s like asking the farmer to kill the goose that lays all the golden eggs. This is why the media, consumer advocates and government regulators are your best course of action.

3rd Party Debt Collectors Must Play By The Rules (The FDCPA)
When I say play by the rules, I mean that most debt collectors must follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA  is the golden rule that applies to all third party collectors. It even applies to collectors that work for the creditor but look like they’re an entirely different company.

If the collector violates these rules in the slightest, they could be sued for $1000, plus, your court costs and even your attorney’s legal fees. (And this doesn’t even include state law claims, which you can file too!) Yes, it’s all built into the Act to encourage attorneys to take your case. Free of charge!

Blog Roadmap

  • Spotting The Lies & Half Truths Collectors Say
  • How To Show They’re Still Bound By The FDCPA
  • Googling The Debt Collector and Their Company
  • Checking The State Courts & Complaint Databases
  • Checking For Other FDCPA Lawsuits Filed Against Them
  • What We Found on Cooling & Winter!

Spotting The Lies  & Half Truths Collectors Say

Lie/Half Truth #1

Since We’re Part of The Creditor, We’re Exempt From The FDCPA
Debt collectors love this one. Some of them even believe it. One of the real life exceptions to the FDCPA is that it usually won’t apply to creditors who collect on their own debts. Nor does it usually apply to the creditor’s employees.

For example, if you owe money to Bank Of America, they can collect on the debt with no fear of the FDCPA. The same goes if you receive a call from their accounting department or their in-house lawyers.

But even then, the FDCPA forbids them to collect under another name. OR in a manner which makes them appear to be a third party debt collector. If they do that, they will be stuck under the rigid rules that bind all third party debt collectors. Note that in Cooling & Winter’s case, they sometimes will insist the creditor is not subject to the FDCPA. But the status of the creditor is not the issue. It’s the law firm’s status as a 3rd party debt collector that counts. The FDCPA applies to law firms too!

And this is VERY important. The trend these days is for some collectors to falsely claim they are not a third party. Instead, with forked tongue, they’ll tell you they are somehow an “affiliate” or “employee” of the creditor.

The reason they do this is because if they can skirt the rules they can undercut their law abiding competitors. And by ignoring the law, they can collect their debts cheaper and faster than everyone else.

Honest debt collectors hate when their competitors try these stunts. For unlike the baddies, they’re the ones who get penalized for playing fair.

Lie/Half Truth #2

Since We’re Debt Buyers The FDCPA Won’t Apply To Us
Debt collectors will also try to avoid the Act by claiming they are debt buyers and therefore exempt. In other words, they will tell you that since they own the debt outright, they are now the creditor and can collect on it in any way they choose to.

This is a half truth based on the recent Supreme Court ruling in Henson. What they won’t tell you is that the FDCPA still applies to them when the principal purpose of their business is debt collection. See Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., 137 S. Ct. 1718 (2017). And this is where the background check comes in.

How To Show That They’re Still Bound By The FDCPA
Under current case law there are 4 ways a debt collector can be bound under the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act. Since the collector may try to hide this information from you, it’s up to you to find public records that support your case!

Prove any one of the following and they’re still on the hook:

1. The debt collector is clearly a third party who is collecting the debt on behalf of someone else.


2. While the debt collector claims to be part of the creditor, they have the appearance of being an entirely different company. For example, a debt collector law firm may say they’re part of the creditor but they use a different name, incorporate as a separate entity, have a different website, use a different logo and have different stationary-all of which conveniently fails to list an affiliation with the creditor.


3. While the debt collector may own the debt and say’s they’re merely collecting on it, you have proof that debt collection is the principal purpose of their business or part of their regular activities; For example, their website says they’re debt collectors and all their lawsuits and articles involve debt collection.


4. Even if the debt collector is a debt buyer or part of the creditor, you can show they also act as a third party collector with respect to other debts.  For example, they say they’re an “affiliate” of Capital One but you discover they also collect debts for competing banks such as Bank of America or Midland Funding.

A General Background Check To Reveal The Facts Above
Each background check is different. And you never know the juicy facts that can help you until you find them!

So it’s important to do a background check on both the debt collector AND their company. If either one has a checkered past, all the better.

Googling Cooling & Winter
I Googled the law firm of Cooling & Winter with many or all of the terms below:

Cooling & Winter FDCPA
Cooling & Winter Complaint
Cooling & Winter fines
Cooling & Winter sanction
Cooling & Winter Capital One (To see if they are affiliated)

Googling Debt Collector Attorney Quinn M Kasper
I then did likewise with one of their attorneys,

Quinn M Kasper Georgia
Quinn Kasper Georgia attorney
Quinn Kasper Georgia complaints
Martha Quinn McGill (maiden name)
Quinn Kasper “Bank of America” (more connections to creditor? )
Quinn Kasper Cooling Winter
Martha McGill FDCPA
(for prior FDCPA violations)
Quinn M Kasper FDCPA

Other words to search for include their name along with
contempt, fined  and disciplined.

Googling Specific Newspapers For Stories On Your Collector or Their Big Bank Employers
You’re more likely to get the media to do a story if the collector was already in another story by them. And you can bet the collector’s bank employers will be more apt to drop them if you remind them about their prior bad press with debtors, or how the collector has damaged their rep in the past.

In the case of Cooling & Winter, a Google search revealed sordid facts about their past. It turns out that many of their top lawyers were from the notorious law firm of William J Hanna & Associates. Yes, the very same firm that in 2016 was fined $3.1 million and shut down by the federal government! (See more below)

Sample Google Search For Hanna & Associates in Media Articles

Hanna debt site:ajc.com (collector in Atlanta Constitution)
Hanna debt site:wsj.com (collector in Wall Street Journal)
Hanna debt site:nytimes.com (collector in New York Times)

Sample Google Search For Big Bank & Media Articles
(Getting Headlines to include in Scare Letters To Their Clients)

“Capital One” Hanna debt site:ajc.com (collector & Capital One, AJC)
“Bank of America” FDCPA site:nytimes.com (FDCPA trouble)
“Midland Funding” debtors site:wsj.com (general bad press)

Check The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s Complaint Database. The CFPB Complaint Database shows the type of complaints filed by others which the government already knows about. For Example, Cooling & Winter has had 75 complaints since 3/16/16 to the present. This information may be useful when contacting the media, writing scare letters to the big banks, or when negotiating with the collector. It’s also good to remind the government that the collector is still a menace.

Check Local and Federal Courts For Cases They’re Involved In
Search by the last name and maybe 1st name of their attorneys. Also search by their law firm. You’re looking for three things:

1. The names of the companies or banks they represent
The more competing banks they represent, the more obvious they’re a third party debt collector. Also, the cases will show you if there are any big banks involved, i.e. the ones most sensitive to bad press. You’ll want a list of these so you can write them scare letters or  get the consumer advocates and reporters to give them a happy phone call.

2. The names of the debtors that are being sued
If the debt collector is telling you lies, there may be other witnesses who can vouch for their bad conduct. Reporters also like talking to a other victims to make their story more sensational.

3. Other lawsuits that show dirt or bad conduct.
Has the law firm, collection agency or its attorneys been sued for malpractice? Are there any suits against them in federal court for violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act?  You’re looking for anything juicy and embarrassing they don’t want publicized.

Searching For Cooling & Winter in GA ( Fulton State & Magistrate Court)
In the link above, search for the word Cooling
and set your display to 200 records. You’ll want at least a dozen names and addresses of defendants in debt collector actions during 2017.  This will help when you or reporters reach out to other victims.

Do the same with Fulton Superior Court.
Choose All Case Records and enter the CAPTCHA. In the box below this, change Search By: Citation to Attorney. Ignore all fields but the attorney’s name. In this case, the attorney has a rare name so search by the last name of KASPER (nothing else). When you see a list of cases, look for the ones grouped as Contract/AccountFor more info on a case, click on the blue links to the far left

Often, a big bad debt collector trounces on the little guy in magistrate court. But later the debtor turns around and sues them for FDCPA violations in federal court. While the debtor often loses the first round, with the help of free plaintiff attorneys they typically win or settle the FDCPA case. At least that’s how it works with Cooling & Winter.

And guess what? You can find all these cases on PACER. PACER is free if you use it wisely. And even if the case has settled already, you get to see what every debtor complained about (before they were paid to keep quiet). This is great because the debtor’s complaint can show if there’s a pattern or practice the government should investigate. For example: a debt collector’s repeated attempts to sue before the debt was confirmed or “validated.”

To search on PACER, log in and then get to find a party by pasting the link below in the Internet address bar at the top:

Or you can go to National Case Locator, click on Pacer Case Locator, and Find Parties. Next, in the field called Last Name or Entity Name, all you need to do is enter in the law firm name without the LLC, LLP etc. For example Cooling & Winter. Click Search and watch the magic!

As of 8/12/18, here are all the Unfair Debt Collection Law Suits Against Cooling & Winter in Federal Court. See PACER which has 30 Lawsuit Against Cooling & Winter with 21 cases based on FDCPA violations, 1 is a FCRA violation

What We found On Cooling & Winter

  1. Cooling & Winter is the successor to the notorious law firm of Frederick J. Hanna & Associates.
  2. Hanna is the same firm that in January 2016, was fined $3.1 million and then shut down by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. (CFPB)
  3. The Hanna firm was shut down because it relied on deceptive court filings and faulty evidence to churn out over a hundred thousand debt collection lawsuits in violation of the FDCPA.
  4.  Cooling & Winter was formed just three weeks before the government  forced Hanna out of business. (Frederick J Hanna & Associates knew they needed a new name as a shut down was imminent.)
  5. The new firm is strikingly similar to the old one. In fact, the named partners, Joseph C Cooling & Robert A Winter, belonged to the Hanna firm, and were specifically named in the government suit against Hanna. In addition to having virtually the same partners and many of the same attorneys, the new firm even uses the old firm’s prior phone number. (For National Headlines on Hanna partners Joseph Cooling & Robert Winter, click Here.)
  6. Like its predecessor, Cooling & Winter has continued in the Hanna legacy. In 2017 alone, they’ve been sued 11 times for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Many of these cases touch on the same practices prohibited by the government Order that shut down their predecessor.
  7. Cooling & Winter collects for Bank of America, Capital One and a debt buyer called Midland Funding.
  8. Cooling & Winter lawyers are licensed by the GA Bar and subject to their rules and regulations for ethical misconduct.
  9. Cooling & Winter is a member of a trade organization called NARCA (The National Creditors Bar Association)
  10. Cooling & Winter knows it’s subject to the FDCPA. In 2017 alone, They were sued under the FDCPA 11 times. And in every case, they settle within 1-6 months.

What We Found On Quinn M Kasper

Quinn Kasper was no angel either.

  1. Martha Kasper worked for both Hanna and Cooling & Winter and is therefore bound by the government order on unfair debt collection. She’s also known as Martha Quinn McGill and Quinn McGill Kasper.
  2. Kasper is a former magistrate judge and files many suits in magistrate court.
  3. Kasper holds herself out as an expert on the FDCPA and even was about to teach a class on such to NARCA before it was canceled due to a hurricane scare.
  4. Kasper in spite of her seniority and expertise, still tells debtors she and her firm are not covered under the FDCPA.
  5. Kasper is a lawyer licensed by the GA Bar and subject to their rules on ethical misconduct & misrepresentation. (Rule 8.4 )

For more see,

Lawyers at Cooling & Winter (For Googling)

Georgia Office

Joseph C. Cooling
Managing Partner
Email: jcooling@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055

Robert A. Winter
Managing Partner
Email: rwinter@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055

S. Louis Schiappa
Managing Attorney
Email: lschiappa@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055 x3014

Kristian Knochel
General Counsel
Email: kknochel@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055

Quinn McGill Kasper
Senior Attorney
Email: qmcgill@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055 x3299

Christopher R. Yarbrough
Attorney at Law
Email: cyarbrough@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055 x3356

Louis R. Feingold
Attorney at Law
Email: lfeingold@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055 x3127

M. Scott Peskin
Attorney at Law
Email: speskin@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055 x3116

Allison K. Lovell
Attorney at Law
Email: alovell@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055 x3007

Shenika L. Lee
Attorney at Law
Email: slee@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055 x3066

Ryan O. Bell
Attorney at Law
Email: rbell@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 770.988.9055 x3184

Florida Office

Joy Lynn Kundawala
Senior Attorney
Email: jkundawala@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 954.903.2806 x4028

Karen E. Berger
Senior Attorney
Email: kberger@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 954.903.2806 x4031

Melissa Alvarez
Attorney at Law
Email: malvarez@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 954.903.2806 x3389

Lauren N. Turner
Attorney at Law
Email: lturner@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 954.903.2806 x4026

Mateusz M. Szymanski
Attorney at Law
Email: mszymanski@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 954.903.2806 x4032

South Carolina Office

Joseph E. Brown
Attorney at Law
Email: jbrown@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 864.605.3832 x4003

Wesley E. Boyd (name has been removed from website)
Attorney at Law
Email: wboyd@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 864.605.3832 x4004

Dylan D. Lingerfelt
Attorney at Law
Email: dlingerfelt@coolingwinter.com
Phone: 864.605.3832 x4004

21 thoughts on “Exposing A Debt Collector Who Won’t Follow The FDCPA”

  1. Good info! I’m looking for something so I can get them to delete an account off my credit reports. The account is from Bank of America. Cooling & Winter has the account now. They won’t send me any type of contract that I allegedly signed. If you know of a way that would help me please email me.
    Thank you

  2. I just went to court 2/21/19 . I owed 1400 to midland credit.. i settled for $800 before we went in to court room with scott peskin.. i offer to pay in on the spot. But he did not want to accept cash.. ok. Understandable. He says wait a few days and give the office time to know of the settlement.. so today 2/27/19 i try to pay it.. they know nothing of the settlement and says scott peskin no longer works there… wth ? Any advise ?

  3. I had a sheriff officer pull into my mothers driveway and handed me a paper for a claim against me by Cooling and Winter. Cooking and Winter says in the documents that they are “owned” by Bank of America. They only show the last few credit card statements in 2017 showing the last payments made to Bank of America. The card had a balance on it but was not used for purchases for several years. I won’t go into detail here about why I was unable to pay but let’s just say it involved a family member getting cancer and me having to drain every financial option to keep them alive and despite all of this…they eventually died in 2018. I had asked Bank of America (when I fell behind) it they could engage the insurance on my account that I was paying for (one of those things where you pay $50-100 in case you get sick or lose your job etc). They said that plan was shut down and ended. I asked if I got a refund for all the money I paid into that plan and they did not know. I also asked them if they could give me a pay in full amount and give me a few weeks to get a loan and that putting a late payment blemish or whatever on my credit report would affect my ability to get that loan. They agreed to work with me. A few days later, they had put my late and unpaid debt in my credit report! That is definitely not a way to work with a customer in getting paid. So, in 2018, I hire Lexington law to pick through my debt for debt validation as I had to sort it the fallout of my shared business and debt with my deceased family member/partner in business. Bank of America would never respond with validation. Nor would Cooling and Winter. Never. None. Not ok 2 years. I believe that the card was first activated back in the year 2000. To be honest, I’m not sure the card is technically totally mine as it could have also been my father’s or both of ours originally. I have the same middle name as his first name. He and I basically just shared and paid whatever bills that came on the mail between us…. but…it could be my sole card. My name is on the account for sure. My father is the one who died. But, back in 2000? Can they produce the original signed agreement? So anyway…i am in Georgia and the claim was filed in August of 2019. I am about to file a response to the claim. What should I do? Am I dealing with cooling and Winter as a debt collector or as a lawyer for and owner by bank or America? Any advice?

    1. I can’t say for sure based on what you’ve told me. However,there are many law firms that collect debts on behalf of their clients. Under the FDCPA, these are still debt collectors. Cooling & Winter talks smooth with forked tongue. But they are known nation-wide as tried and true debt collectors and nothing else! So it’s almost for certain that the FDCPA controls them just as if they were any other debt collector.

      Here is a link to a law firm that actually advertises to help people against Cooling & Winter. https://www.lemberglaw.com/cooling-winter-collections-complaints-calls/
      I don’t take cases, so you may want to reach out to them. Remember that while the FDCPA allows for Attorneys’ fees. it often pays the debtor only about $1000 (per lawsuit not per violation)
      However under the GA Fair Business Practice Act, you may be able to get $1000 per violation! So if you get an attorney to represent you, see if they can file state claims of FBPA violations as well the Federal Claims. For the $ you can get under GA state law, see http://consumer-sos.com/Georgia/Credit_&_Debt/credit_&_debt.htm#Suing_GA_Debt_Collectors_For_Even_More_Money_Under_State_Law

      Hope this helps!


      1. Hey! Thanks for the reply. I am considering filing my answer tomorrow.
        I am new to this. I am new to finding this website page. Are you a lawyer? You said you aren’t taking cases right now. If you are a lawyer, could I email you my papers and maybe you could view it and tell me what you think I could say in my “answer” to the claim against me by cooling and winter? I appreciate it!!

      2. Heck. I just found the tab that shows the “about me” section of this website! Kudos to you for creating such site! Much appreciation!

        1. Jesse, I strongly recommend you get a lawyer to review your answer. I can’t do this for you. You only have a certain time to respond, so don’t miss that deadline. I assume you are in magistrate court, which is where Cooling & Winter likes to sue most. Even if you lose the case, you may be able to sue in Federal court under the FDCPA and GA Fair Business Practices Act.

          Below is where you may be able to get free legal help. I can’t vouch for the service you’ll get.

          Free Lawyers In GA for Those with Low Income
          (list of lawyers from my consumer law website)

          Probably in GA

          Firm May or May Not Be In GA


  4. we received a letter from a lawyer offering to help with our garnishment legal issues (advertisement) as there was a filing in another county for an old debt by Bank of America. We have received nothing from anyone on this. I had to dig and do some research to find it was cooling and winters. We made payment to Fred Hanna back years ago and CW took it over but never responded to our calls to make good on the debt. We tried to settle. Now this pops up a few years later out of nowhere.
    I emailed the lawyer at CW about it and a Terrence Green left a vm.

    Trying to figure out best course of action here to negotiate a settlement and not go to court.

    We made payments before so I’m not even sure how to find out how much is really owed.

    Anyone have experience here to fight back?

    Thank you

    1. Please clarify what you mean by “”we have received nothing from anyone on this. Do you mean you were suddenly garnished? Or do you mean that after a bunch of years, now someone is trying to collect on this? How old is this debt? . More than 7 years old? Were there any payments on it in the last 7 years?
      If the debt just popped out of nowhere and someone is trying to collect on it, have them Verify the exact amount owed and verify their legal right to collect it. You have that right under the Fair Debt collection Practice Act to make the debt collector prove they have a right to collect and for the amount requested. If they can’t produce the paper work to prove such, they violate the FDCPA. Same goes if they try to collect on it or use it to ruin your credit. If you are in GA the Fair Business Practices Act may also protect you and allow you to sue for much more money. Here is a sample letter to a debt collector which asks they verify the debt.

      Here are some facts about your legal rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

      1. Thank you for the information! Upon further digging the account was opened in 2002. Closed in Dec 8 2012. Last payment Feb 2016. They are demanding $5600 or threatening legal action which apparently has already started. I have a case number, but was never notified by Cooling and Winters. They have had no communication for 3 years until I found out about the case via a solicitation letter from a third party lawyer. I emailed CW and they called back saying we owed 5600. Just trying to see what our options are as we don’t have the 5600 up front right now.

  5. Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?

    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Thank you

    1. Sure, if you feel it will be helpful. Mostly except for the Google search advice, the free links are USA based.

  6. How can I find out if they bought debt fromBOfA and what they paid! We go to court in Ga 2 /16. Two other debt collectors before them their rep is horrible and will be addressed. Hope it ok to use your info to show there bad history so the judge can at have a Pause. SeniorSS only They told me if the debt paid they cannot ask B Of A to remove charge off that is not what they do Thank goodness I did not let them get my account info AJC article they took thousands out of a persons account not just payment

    1. Please feel free to use the info on this site. The debt collector is not obligated to divulge what they paid for the debt. However, they should have proof that they indeed bought the debt/have the sole ability to collect on it. Proof 1 day before the hearing is unlikely to happen. But I assume you can ask for their proof to collect at the hearing. Under the FDCPA, you can request proof they can validly collect the debt, but given the matter is already in court, you probably missed that deadline.

  7. Hi
    A lien was placed on my cousin’s house by Cooling & winter. However, she does not believe that she owes the debt because she was in Jail and she believes that the debt is not hers,. When she tried to sell her property this year she found out that a lien was on her house.

    – The judgement was granted 1998
    – The lien was not put on the house until 2020 ( when my cousin obtained it)
    – My cousin never owned property until she received this house,
    – Cooling & Winter filed the lien every year until she got property.

    She asked for validation of Debt ( is it too late? )
    They said they have documents, but have yet to send them.
    It seems as if they are being slow about providing proof that she owes this debt.
    They have given her the name of the creditor and the amount owed, but they haven’t provided any other documents.

    What do you suggest ?

    1. So are you saying the debt has nothing to do with her and was simply attached to the house? Or that the debt is connected to her but she believes it’s not valid? Cooling & Winter operates in several states. What is the state where the property is located? (Different states have different laws on liens, notice etc.) Also, was the lien already on the house before she bought it? Or only after she acquired the property and signed all the papers? Generally, a title search will determine whether a property has a lien on it. It is uncommon for people to purchase property with a lien on it because property usually cannot be sold until any liens are satisfied. However, liens in the name of previous owners can sometimes go unnoticed in a deed. Does your cousin have title insurance? Answers to these questions may help decide who is responsible and who is required to pay up.

      1. The debt is connected to her but she believes it’s not valid
        This in GA.
        After she acquired the property and signed all the paper work that is when the lien was attached.
        She does not have title insurance.
        The house is paid for.

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