Is Advanced Collection Services, Inc calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
Calls from debt collectors are seriously stressful- even if you don’t answer the phone. Just hearing it ring and seeing the agency’s name on your caller ID is enough to make you start sweating. Eventually you do pick up- and agree to a payment plan you really can’t afford, simply to make the harassment stop. You’re tired of them calling your workplace and waking you up early in the morning, and assume that paying them is the only way to get them to back off.
It’s not true, but debt collectors want you to think it is.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a consumer protection law that prohibits abusive and unethical debt collection practices. It was originally enacted in 1977 in response to widespread complaints about debt collector harassment, and continues to regulate what collection agencies may say or do while communicating with consumers. Below is a list of actions that are illegal when used to collect a debt.
- Using profane or obscene language
- Calling before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the consumer’s time zone
- Telling someone that they have committed a crime by not paying their debts and will be arrested
- Failing or refusing to validate the debt when asked
- Telling the person’s friends, neighbors, and co-workers that they owe money
- Calling someone at work if they know that the employer does not permit such calls
Many debt collectors violate the FDCPA because their hostile approach works. As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Advanced Collection Services, Inc is a small debt collection agency located in Marietta, Georgia. It was established in 2002 and collects consumer debt all over the country. Although not a large operation, a search of the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website (pacer.gov) reveals that Advanced Collection Services, Inc has been accused of frequent FDCPA violations during its attempts to collect from consumers.
Michelle Pounders v. Advanced Collection Services, Inc
According to PACER**, in late 2007, Georgia resident Michelle Pounders received a number of voice messages from Advanced Collection Services, Inc representatives, who were allegedly attempting to collect a debt from her. She later claimed that none of the messages properly identified the company they were calling from or advised her that they were attempting to collect a debt.
When she realized the purpose of all these calls, Ms. Pounders retained a consumer attorney and filed a lawsuit accusing Advanced Collection Services, Inc of the following FDCPA violations:
- Leaving voicemail messages that did not meaningfully disclose the caller’s identity (15 U.S.C. § 1692d(6))
- Using false and misleading representations to collect or attempt to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e)
- Failing to disclose that the calls were from a debt collector (15 U.S.C. § 1692e(11))
A judge ruled in favor of Ms. Pounders and against Advanced Collection Services, Inc. in the amount of $2,951.00 for her attorneys’ fees and costs.
The phone number for Advanced Collection Services, Inc is 1-678-569-1880. If you see this number on your caller ID, a debt collector is trying to contact you about a debt that you may or may not owe. If they leave voicemail messages that do not properly identify themselves and their real purpose in contacting you, consult a consumer attorney.
Any collection agency that violates the FDCPA during its communications with you can be compelled in court to pay you statutory damages of $1,000 per violation, plus actual damages, attorney fees, and court costs. Even though collecting debts is legal, it must in done in accordance with the law, and agencies that fail to do so face consequences.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 1:08-cv-01078-BBM from United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Aargon Collection Agency or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.