Is Academy Collection Service Inc calling you? Here's what you need to know.
The debt collection industry generates billions of dollars a year from the scores of Americans who have trouble meeting their financial obligations. Most of this revenue comes from people who fall behind on credit card payments, medical bills, student loans, and mortgages. For these debtors, it’s a stressful situation made worse by calls from collection agencies.
Debt collectors can be intimidating and persistent when they try to get money from you. People who are unaware of their rights under the FDCPA will even pay debts they don’t owe, simply to get the collection agency to end the harassment.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is part of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which clearly outlines how debt collectors may and may not behave when collecting a debt. It also explains the rights and remedies available to consumers who are being contacted by debt collectors.
Under the FDCPA, collection agents cannot call you at inconvenient times, tell third parties such as friends and employers about the debt, and try to scare money out of you by threatening you with arrest or incarceration. They also cannot claim to be police officers or attorneys and use profane language to intimidate you. As a consumer, you are within your rights to tell them to stop contacting you and take them to court if they don’t comply.
Academy Collection Service, Inc. was founded in 1971 and has approximately 400 employees in its three offices (two in Philadelphia, one in Las Vegas). In 2009 it became a subsidiary of Monarch Recovery Management Inc., a newly formed holding company. Academy Collection Service Inc. has been accused of so many FDCPA violations that in 2008 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had to step in.
Academy Collection Services
According to Pacer, in November 2008 the FTC announced that Academy Collection Service, Inc. and its owner, Keith Dickstein, had agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle charges that company collectors had threatened, harassed, and misled debtors, deposited post-dated checks early, and disclosed debt information to third parties. At the time of the announcement, it was the largest civil penalty that the Federal Trade Commission had secured in a debt collection case.
The Department of Justice filed a complaint on the FTC’s behalf. It stated that while collecting debts, Academy Collection Service, Inc. collectors violated both the FTC Act and the FDCPA. They were accused of the following illegal practices:
- Threatening debtors with arrest, legal action, and wage garnishment
- Communicating with third parties about debts
- Calling consumers at their place of employment when the employer prohibits such calls
- Frequent, threatening, and abusive calls
- Unauthorized withdrawals from debtors’ bank accounts
- Early deposit of post-dated debt payment checks
The FTC alleged that the company and its own dismissed complaints from consumers, and that collectors who were fired for breaching the FDCPA frequently resumed their duties not long afterward.
Over 1000 complaints against Academy Collection Service, Inc. were filed with the FTC, the attorneys general of different states, and the Better Business Bureaus for Nevada and Pennsylvania.
If you get calls from 1-800-220-0605 or 1-215-281-7500, Academy Collection Service, Inc. are trying to contact you about a debt. If they call you with harassing frequency, threaten to have you arrested, or disclose details about the debt to your friends and family, contact a consumer attorney with experience in FDCPA cases.
Under the law, a collection agency must stop contacting you once you have legal representation regarding the debt, but if they persist, a skilled attorney will help you sue the agency in court. You could be compensated up to $1,000 per FDCPA violation, as well as court costs and attorney fees.
*Case taken from PACER (pacer.gov). File number is Case: 2:08-CV-1576 from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Academy Collection Service Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.