Is Affiliated Management Services, Inc calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Falling behind on your financial obligations is a stressful experience. Most of us want to pay off our debts as quickly as possible, and when illness, job loss, or a personal crisis like divorce makes that impossible, we feel out of control. When we miss a certain number of payments and debt collectors begin to call us at home and work, the situation can escalate into a nightmare, especially if the collectors are rude and persistent.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a consumer protection law that regulates what debt collectors may say and do when dealing with consumers. It was passed by Congress in 1977 to deal with complaints about predatory debt collection practices, and prohibits the following activities if they are performed while collecting or attempting to collect a debt.
- Using profane or obscene language
- Using the telephone to harass someone (e.g. calling and hanging up, using an autodialer to make nonstop calls)
- Pretending to be police officers or federal agents who will arrest you if you don’t pay
- Calling before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the your time zone
- Talking to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers about the debt
- Calling you after you formally dispute a debt
- Calling you at work after you tell them that your employer does not permit such calls
Although the FDCPA has been in effect for nearly 40 years, there are debt collectors who persist in ignoring it. They threaten, harass, and verbally abuse consumers because too few people are aware of their rights and even fewer are prepared to act upon them.
Affiliated Management Services, Inc. is a collection agency that specializes in collecting medical debt. It was established in 1987, is headquartered in Mission, Kansas, and has less than 10 employees. Despite its comparatively small size, Affiliated Management Services, Inc. collects all over the country, and many consumers have complained that its agents violate the FDCPA. A search of the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website (pacer.gov) turns up multiple instances of these complaints being resolved in court.
Danny Cahill and Brenda Cahill v. Affiliated Management Services, Inc
According to PACER**, North Carolina residents Danny and Brenda Cahill each incurred a medical debt to Forsyth Case Emergency Services, and were unable to pay it afterwards. When both debts went into default, they were turned over to Affiliated Management Services, Inc. for collection.
In late January or early February 2013, the Cahills received collection letters from Affiliated Management Services, Inc. The letters stated that the debts would be verified upon request, but did not clarify that the requests must be made in writing.
The Cahills understood that Affiliated Management Services, Inc. was required to cease collection activity only in response to a written dispute. If they had disputed the debts orally, the company would not have been required to stop.
Mr. and Ms. Cahill hired a consumer attorney and filed a lawsuit accusing Affiliated Management Services, Inc. of the following FDCPA violations:
- Communicating false legal information by failing to tell the Cahills that a request for verification had to be in writing (15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a)(4))
- Using false and misleading representations to collect or attempt to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e)
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone numbers for Affiliated Management Services, Inc. is 1- 800-221-1314 and 1-913-677-9470. Should either number appear on your caller ID, a debt collector is attempting to contact you about a debt you allegedly owe. If their verbal or written communications contain false or misleading information or instructions, contact a consumer attorney.
The FDCPA requires all debt collectors to be transparent when dealing with consumers, and failure to do so is a direct violation. Your attorney will help you take Affiliated Management Services, Inc. to court, where you could win statutory damages of $1,000 per violation plus actual damages, court costs, and attorney fees. The FDCPA gives you rights that debt collectors ignore at their own risk.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 1:14-cv-00077-TDS-JEP from United States District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, Winston-Salem 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 Affiliated Management Services, Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.