Is Allied National, Inc calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
Sometimes it seems as if the bills will never stop rolling in: credit card statements, mortgages, student loans, car payments, and medical expenses. It’s difficult enough to watch so much of our income be consumed by debt, but when illness or company layoffs result in unexpected job loss, the situation becomes a nightmare. If we can’t make minimum payments on each obligation, sooner or later debt collectors will start calling.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, requires third-party debt collectors to be honest and ethical when collecting from consumers who owe money. The law was passed in 1977 after abusive debt collectors were named as a factor in the growing number of personal bankruptcies and marital breakdowns. Under the FDCPA, the following collection tricks and tactics are illegal:
- Failing or refusing to validate the debt upon request
- Calling a debtor before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in their time zone
- Swearing and raising their voice
- Revealing particulars about a debt to anyone except the consumer, their spouse, their attorney, and/or any co-signers
- Threatening to have the person arrested if they don’t pay
- Failing to advise the credit bureaus that a debt is in dispute
- Calling someone at work if they know that such calls are not permitted
Although against the law, these predatory and abusive actions remain widespread because they actually work: people become stressed and frightened, and pay the amount demanded even if they don’t legally owe it.
Allied National, Inc is an Omaha, Nebraska-based collection agency that was formed in 1987. Over the years, it opened branch offices in Miami, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington DC. The Public Access to Court Electronic Records website (pacer.gov) retains files from several court cases involving Allied National, Inc and alleged breaches of the FDCPA.
Guillermo Landazabal v. Allied National, Inc.
According to PACER**, in March 2012 Florida resident Guillermo Landazabal received a collection letter from Allied National, Inc regarding a debt he had allegedly incurred with South Exchange, Inc. He responded with a letter of his own, formally disputing the debt and asking for verification. Allied National, Inc allegedly did not respond.
The following August, debt collectors left a message on his answering machine: Mr. Landazabal later claimed that the party who called failed to identify themselves as a debt collector attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained would be used for that purpose.
Mr. Landazabal hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint accusing Allied National, Inc of the following FDCPA violations:
- Failing to provide the mandated ‘mini Miranda’ warning identifying the caller as a debt collector attempting to collect a debt, and that any information obtained would be used for that purpose (15 U.S.C. §1692e(11))
- Willfully failing to report that a disputed debt is disputed (15 U.S.C. §1692e(8))
The matter was later settled
The phone numbers for Allied National, Inc are 1-800-456-5770 and 1-402-393-3477. If either number appears on your caller ID, someone from the company is trying to collect a debt from you. If they leave messages that do not identify their company and their purpose, or fail to act accordingly when you dispute the alleged debt, see a consumer attorney.
He or she can deal with Allied National, Inc on your behalf, and help you take the agency to court for violating the FDCPA. If you prove your case, you could win statutory of $1,000 per violation as well as any actual damages, court costs, and attorney fees. Even if you owe money, the law grants you rights that debt collectors must respect, or expensive penalties result.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 0:13-cv-60370-RNS from United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, Broward 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 Allied National, Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.