If you are facing a debt collection proceeding, you may find yourself dealing with third-party consumer debt collectors who are persistent to the point of being both harassing and unprofessional.
If one of those companies is the company, Rash Curtis and Associates, it is important that you understand your rights and what you can do to protect yourself.
What Is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is part of a larger act, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which was created in 1977. The FDCPA protects debtors against unfair consumer debt collection practices committed by third-party debt collectors, such as Rash Curtis and Associates.
The law gives struct rules and guidelines that all debt collectors are expected to follow when collecting on a debt. If a debt collector violates one of these rules, the debtor can sue and seek compensation for damages sustained as a result of these violations.
About Rash Curtis and Associates
Rash Curtis and Associates was founded in 1977 and has been in business for over 39 years. Its parent company is K.B.R., Inc. They are located in Vacaville, California with a staff of 59 people at their headquarters location.
Rash Curtis is a licensed collection agency that focuses mostly on collecting on medical bills resulting from “commercial insurance, managed care insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, self-pay, self-pay residuals, car accident injuries and workers’ compensation.”
Because they have an in-house legal department, Rash Curtis regularly litigate their own cases that meet certain criteria, such as patients who have bills with higher balances, patients who have good credit scores and available credit and patients with good employment histories.
Rash Curtis offers what is called an “early-out” service which means that collection activity can be started before “delinquency” has occurred.
Determining If a Claim Exists
It is possible that an FDCPA violation has occurred to a debtor without that person realizing it. The FDCPA prevents debt collectors, like Rash Curtis and Associates, from behavior that is considered unprofessional and unethical, including:
- If Rash Curtis and Associates has called you at “odd hours,” which normally means before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.;
- If Rash Curtis and Associates has used threatening or violent language when communicating with the debtor or other people connected to the debtor;
- If Rash Curtis and Associates has threatened to file a law suit when they have no intention of pursuing one;
- If Rash Curtis and Associates has threatened to garnish the debtor’s wages when they have no legal right or no intention of pursuing a garnishment;
- If Rash Curtis and Associates has called the debtor’s place of business when he or she has specifically stated that no personal calls are to be made there;
- If Rash Curtis and Associates has communicated with third parties connected to the debtor in an effort to seek information on the debt or disclosing information about the debtor; or
- If you believe Rash Curtis and Associates has threatened to file criminal charges against the debtor while collecting on the debt.
If any of the above behavior has happened to the debtor, he or she may have a valid FDCPA claim to be filed in state court.
What Damages Are Available?
In all FDCPA claims, the debtor is entitled to receive statutory damages in the amount of no more than $1,000. In addition, the debtor can seek what are known as actual damages. These damages can include compensation for physical distress, including medical bills or treatment needed for related illnesses or injuries the debtor has endured because of the physical distress resulting from the harassment.
Actual damages can also include emotional distress from the FDCPA violations. If the debtor has also had to lose time at work because of this harassment and stress, the actual damages can include lost wages.
However, for actual damages to be awarded, he or she must be successful in proving they occurred and in showing a connection to the injury and the behavior exhibited by Rash Curtis and Associates. Reasonable attorneys’ fees may also be given to the debtor as an award for a successful FDCPA claim.
Contact an Attorney Today
If a debtor believes an FDCPA violation has occurred by Rash Curtis and Associates, he or she needs to contact an attorney for a consultation before pursuing a claim. An attorney can advise the client on what steps need to be taken to prove a successful FDCPA claim.
A word of warning should be issued. If a debtor brings a case and it is not successful, he or she could end up being responsible for the legal fees for the other side. Also keep in mind that Rash Curtis and Associates will likely come to court with legal representation.
It can be a huge benefit for the debtor to even the playing field by coming to court with representation, as well.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Rash Curtis and Associates or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.