Kaufman Englett Lynd (KEL) — Misrepresent themselves!
Kaufman, Englett, and Lynd runs a tremendous amount of advertising that clearly states that if a client contacts KEL, they will speak with an attorney. I contacted them with that expectation. On my initial call, I stated that I would like to speak with an attorney for a consultation. I was transferred to Kirk Collier and explained my issue (final stages of a short sale, challenges negotiating my deficiency with the bank leading to my decision to file bankruptcy). He stated that I should not file for bankruptcy as I did have some legal options, so I asked to make an appointment for a consultation with an attorney in the Tampa office the next day. When I came for my appointment, I met with Kirk Collier and Lacie Beck, who introduced herself as a paralegal. Mr. Collier offered specific legal advice (do not file for bankruptcy, do not apply for the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program, etc.) which I considered in my decision to hire KEL to represent me and the actions to take going forward.
I have since learned, by contacting the Florida Bar Association, that Kirk Collier is NOT an attorney. Per the Bar, Mr. Collier should not be dispensing legal advice, should not be conducting a legal consultation, and, if he was speaking in general about legal matters as a non-lawyer representing your firm, should have specified that he is not an attorney. I was under the impression from their advertising and from the fact that I requested a meeting with an attorney and that Kirk Collier subsequently conducted my legal consultation that he was, in fact, an attorney. This misrepresentation alone is cause for negation of any agreement that I entered into with KEL. I have requested a refund from KEL and they have not obliged.
In addition, long story short, I was in the final stages of a short sale. I had a one week deadline to respond to the bank to negotiate my deficiency - I could not get anyone at KEL to return my calls in a week, much less prepare a response. I had to file a response myselft. Again, you would think that a reputable company would just acknowledge that they dropped and ball and give me a refund - they have not!
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