Is Account Solutions Group calling you? Here's what you need to know.
If you miss at least three payments for any debt, chances are that your creditor will eventually turn the account over to a third-party collection agency. These people ensure that your financial past will come back to haunt you: they literally hunt you down and pressure you to pay up.
The good news is that the law requires them to behave professionally when they deal with you. The bad news is that not all debt collectors respect the law.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was passed in September 1977 after scores of consumers opted to go bankrupt rather than deal with predatory, aggressive debt collectors any longer. The law granted people the right to dispute a debt, demand its verification, and tell third-party debt collectors to stop contacting them.
It also made the following activities illegal when committed while collecting or attempting to collect a debt.
- Using profane or obscene language
- Calling at all hours
- Pretending to be police officers or federal agents to frighten debtors into paying
- Threatening legal actions they cannot take or have no intention of taking
- Discussing the debt with anyone except the consumer, their spouse, their attorney, and / or any co-signers
- Calling someone at work if they know that the employer does not permit such calls
Many debt collectors violate the FDCPA on a routine basis, convinced that the risks are worth the rewards of illegally realized gains.
Account Solutions Group is a collection agency with call center operations in Amherst, New York. It was established in 1997, employs over 500 people, and counts some of the top credit card issuers in the country among its regular clients. A search of the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website (pacer.gov) turns up several court cases that accuse Account Solutions Group of violating the FDCPA while attempting to collect money.
Eileen Degenhart v. FirstSource Advantage LLC aka Firstsource Solutions Limited and Account Solutions Group, LLC
According to PACER**, on January 2011 an Account Solutions Group representative named “Sherman” called Pennsylvania resident Eileen Degenhart and attempted to collect a debt she allegedly owed to American Express. She responded by mailing the agency a dispute letter notifying them that the debt in question had been paid and requesting verification that she owed money.
Although Ms. Degenhart was able to track the letter and confirm its receipt, Account Solutions Group allegedly continued its efforts to collect the debt. These efforts included retaining counsel to file a debt collection lawsuit against Ms. Degenhart.
She retained a consumer attorney and filed a lawsuit of her own, this one accusing Account Solutions Group of the following FDCPA violations:
- Failing to provide a written notice to Ms. Degenhart within five days of the initial debt collection contact (15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a))
- Failing to provide the verification she requested and continuing its collection activities after receiving notice of that the alleged debt was disputed (15 U.S.C. § 1692g(b))
The matter was later settled
The phone numbers for Account Solutions Group are 1-888-872-1566 and 1-716-564-4400. If either number appears on your caller ID, a debt collector is trying to collect money from you. If they fail to provide you with debt validation details within 5 days of initially contacting you, or disregard a dispute letter, contact a consumer attorney.
They can help you make a case against Account Solutions Group and get the compensation you are entitled to: $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus any actual damages. In the end, Account Solutions Group could be forced to pay you instead.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 2:11-cv-04517-PD from United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Account Solutions Group or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.