In today’s tough economic times, more and more people are falling behind on their credit card payments, resulting in balances that are higher than they can pay off. As a general rule, creditors who have not received in payment in over three months turn the case over to a collection agency.
People who are targeted by collection agencies are not always aware of what their rights are. If a debt collector calls at all hours, contacts their friends and family, and even let their employers know about the debt, they’re frightened into settling, unaware that such activities are illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
The FDCPA was implemented to prevent hostile debt collection practices and provide consumers with the right to dispute a debt or demand validation. It prohibits the following conduct on the part of debt collectors:
- Calling outside of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. local time
- Refusing to cease communication after receiving written notice to stop
- Contacting a person at their place of employment after being advised that such calls are prohibited
- Calling someone known to be represented by an attorney
- Refusing to provide validation of the debt
- Using deception by claiming to be an attorney or police officer
- Threatening arrest, imprisonment, or any action that cannot legally be taken
- Discussing the debt with anyone but the debtor, their spouse, or their attorney
- Using profane or abusive language
Not all debt collectors abide by the restriction. ACA Recovery Inc is located in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and has a staff of 20 to 49. According to its Manta.com profile, it has been in business since 1997. Court records retained by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) indicate that ACA Recovery Inc has been sued more than once for alleged FDCPA violations.
Kevin Allen v. Accredited Collection Agency
According to PACER**, around December 4, 2012, Kevin Allen, a New Jersey resident, received a letter from ACA Recovery Inc requesting payment for a payday loan that he never took out. Assuming that it was sent in error, he disregarded it. The following January, Mr. Allen began to receive calls at both his father’s house and his place of employment on a daily basis. He also received a letter from an attorney, Charles Turner, threatening legal action if the debt was not paid.
In February 2013 Mr. Allen called ACA Recovery Inc. to confirm that the debt was not his and ask that they stop calling his workplace. He later claimed that he was put on hold repeatedly and hung up on without having the chance to speak to anyone. He faxed a letter to the agency stating that he disputed the debt and wanted written proof of its existence, but never received anything.
When Mr. Allen filed suit, the complaint accused ACA Recovery Inc. representatives of:
- Failing to provide the debt validation required under 15 USC 1692g
- Threatening Mr. Allen with legal action they could not take, as payday loans are non-bank loans and therefore not collectable under New York statute 5-511
- Using harassing and unethical means to collect a debt
The suit was later dismissed.
The phone contacts for ACA Recovery Inc are 1-800-356-3713 and 201-670-8851, so if either number appears on your caller ID, be aware that collection proceedings have been initiated against you. Remember that you have the right to request verification of the debt, dispute it if you don’t agree with the amount or the obligation is not yours, and request that the collection agency stop contacting you. If ACA Recovery Inc disregards your demands for debt verification and / or cessation of contact, see an attorney immediately. If the matter escalates to court, you may be compensated up to $1000 for each FDCPA violation, as well as attorney and court costs.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 2:13-cv-03513-WJM-MF, from United States District Court, District of New Jersey)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against ACA Recovery Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.