Falling behind on your bills usually results in a plethora of collection calls. Initially, these calls tend to be kind customer service reps giving you friendly reminders to pay your bills. But very quickly the customer service representatives can become belligerent and harassing, demanding that you pay your bills or else threatening legal action if you don’t.
Here are 3 ways to Stop Collection Calls
|Ask the collection agency representative to provide his/her identity and their agency’s address. Send a letter to the collection agency telling them to stop calling. It is illegal for a collection agency to call you either at home or work once you give them written notice to stop.|
|Recording the phone conversation can also help you to stop collection calls. Inform the collection agency representative at the beginning of the call that you are taping the call as evidence for filing a formal complaint with the State Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission.|
|Setup phone call filtering. Most phone companies offer “anonymous call rejection”. If the calling party is not displaying caller id information, your phone will not ring. Instead the calling party will be confronted by a phone company system that will prompt the caller to leave a very short voice message which is subsequently played to you giving you a chance to accept the call. This will weed out a great many collections calls.|
Know Your Rights:
- Even if you owe a debt, a collector cannot use abusive language. Under FDCPA law, a collector is not allowed to make any kind of threat or use abusive language. Violating this law opens the collection agency to fines from the FTC and a law suit from you.
- Debt collectors cannot call you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- State and Federal laws do not allow debt collectors to talk about your debt to anyone without your permission. Debt collectors are also prohibited from contacting you while you are at work.
The United State’s consumer finance watchdog agency (The CFPB) will now monitor the day-to-day operations of collection agencies and junk debt buyers.
This is the first time that collection agencies’ day to day business practices have been subjected to federal scrutiny since the 1980’s.
This expands the oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The agency was set up after the financial crisis of 2008 to protect consumers from misleading marketing, unfair fees, and other harmful practices.
Collection agencies have long been criticized for unethical business practices like calling employers, friends, or relatives of debtors and disclosing private financial information in order to embarrass the debtor into paying the debt. Some of the practices violate federal laws like the FDCPA which provide protection against harassment and intimidation.
About 30 million Americans have, on average, $1,500 of debt that is in collections. That information is then reported to credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), which lowers consumer’s credit scores. Collection agencies have the power to affect a person’s ability to finance a car, home, or even get a job.
The CFPB already supervises mortgage companies, private student lenders and payday lenders. Those industries were placed under its watch in the 2010 overhaul of financial laws, which established the agency.
Collection agencies are a part of the second group, after the credit bureaus, that the agency is choosing to include in its supervision program. The CFPB started overseeing the credit bureaus last month.
by: Michael Creditfirm.
West Asset Management Bio
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, West Asset Management is a licensed collection agency with 14 locations in 13 states plus an offshore location in Makati City, Philippines. West Asset Management services clients within the communications, financial services, government, healthcare, higher education, insurance, and utilities industries. West Asset Management typically buys older debt at a substantial discount in an attempt to collect from the consumer.
West Asset Management Complaints
There have been several complaints against West Asset Managements collection procedures. According to several sources, West Asset Management consistently fails to validate debt and disclose all information on their debt. They have also been known to contact consumers regarding already paid accounts, threatening to illegally withdraw money from bank accounts, calling consumer’s family members and places of employment, leaving offensive/harassing voicemails and text messages.
In 2011, the FTC levied a $2.8 million fine (the largest fine against a collection agency to date), against West Asset Management for the following violations:
• Misrepresenting that debtors will be arrested or have their property seized if they don’t pay;
• Making false statements to collect a debt or obtain information about a consumer;
• Withdrawing funds from consumers’ bank accounts or charging their credit cards without their consent;
• Depositing postdated checks before the date on the check, or threatening to do so;
• Revealing to third parties that a consumer owes a debt;
• Asking a third party for a consumer’s location information more than once without the third party’s consent or a reasonable belief that the person’s earlier response was wrong or incomplete and that the person now has correct location information;
• Calling consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., or at their workplace;
• Communicating with a consumer after receiving written notice that the consumer refuses to pay or wants the collector to stop calling
• Using obscene or profane language, or harassing consumers with repeated phone calls.
The Solution for West Asset Management Collection
Credit Firm.net has helped thousands of their clients delete West Asset Management collection accounts from their credit reports. If you have been contacted by West Asset Management or have a West Asset Management Account reporting on your credit report, contact Credit Firm.net to improve your credit.
by: Michael Creditfirm.
NCO Financial Systems, a subsidiary of NCO Financial Group, Inc., is a collection agency servicing industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications, retail, educational, government, as well as many others. NCO purchases defaulted consumer debt for pennies on the dollar in an attempt to settle the accounts with consumers. The company has more than 100 offices, primarily in the US, but also in Antigua, Australia, Barbados, Canada, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the UK.
NCO Group, Inc., began in 1926, when it was founded as National Collection Office. By 1986, the company had 60 clients and only $40,000 in profits. In that same year, the company attained new management and grew more than 400 percent in the first year. By 1992, the company had more than 800,000 debts to collect and was operating in all 50 states. In the eight-year period ending in 1994, the company grew to $5 million in sales and 125 employees. In November 1996, the newly renamed NCO Group, Inc. completed its initial public offering (IPO) which raised $30 million. In 2006 NCO was bought by One Equity Partners (OEP), the private investment arm of JP Morgan Chase. In 2010, NCO had over 30,000 employees and an estimated revenue of $1.6 Billion.
On several occasions, NCO has been accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, refusing to verify and validate the debt, contacting third parties about the debt, claiming that they were calling from a law firm, attempting to collect debt that was past the statute of limitations, and harassing and threatening people on the phone. As a result, in 2004, NCO paid a fine of $1.5 million to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). And in 2006, NCO paid a $300,000 settlement to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for violations of the state’s consumer protection statute.
Most recently, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has fined NCO Financial $250,000 for failing to properly screen its employees. Officials claim that convicted felons had been allowed to contact debtors and have access to consumer’s private personal/financial information, such as social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, and financial account numbers. The civil penalty paid by NCO represents violations that were committed by convicted felons who were employed by NCO subsidiaries. Many of these actions were violations of state laws as well as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Solution for NCO Financial Collections
Credit Firm.net has helped thousands of their clients delete NCO Financial Systems collection accounts from their credit reports as well as stopping the abusive calls. If you have been contacted by NCO or have an NCO Account reporting on your credit report, contact Credit Firm.net to improve your credit.
by: Michael Creditfirm.
Asset Acceptance, LLC. (AA) is one of the biggest collection agencies in the United States. Asset Acceptance works under the umbrella of Asset Acceptance Capital Corporation (AACC) which was founded in 1962. The company specializes in the purchasing defaulted consumer debt and settling the accounts for the original creditor.
How AAC buys debt
Asset Acceptance purchases this debt for a significant discount, sometimes as little as 2% of the original amount owed. Once the debt is purchased, Asset Acceptance proceeds to report the new collection account to the 3 major Credit Reporting Agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), and contacts the consumer in an attempt to settle the account.
Asset Acceptance has been known to use predatory business practices to collect on their debt and has had 769 complaints filed through the BBB in the last 36 months. The FTC has also recently levied a $2.5 million dollar fine against Asset Acceptance Capital Corporation for “Abusive Practices”. The company has been known to Re-Age Debt, report incorrect balances, and continue collections after the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Suzanne Martindale, staff attorney for Consumers Union, a non-profit organization based in New York and the publisher of “Consumer Reports” magazine says, “Some debt collectors unfairly target consumers even when the statute of limitations has passed or when they don’t have the proper documentation to prove the debt is owed.”
Credit Firm.net has helped thousands of their clients delete Asset Acceptance collection accounts from their credit reports as well as stopping the abusive calls. If you have been contacted by Asset Acceptance or have an Asset Acceptance Collection Account reporting on your credit report, contact Credit Firm.net to improve your credit.