Are you being hounded by debt collectors to pay credit card bills, medical debt, and student loans that you can no longer afford to make the payments on? The first step is to tell the collection agency to stop calling you. If they continue, contact a consumer lawyer to discuss legal action.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was passed in 1977 to protect indebted consumers from being harassed into bankruptcy or ill-health by collection agency misconduct. If any company tries to collect your debt in ways like the following, you have grounds to sue them.
- Claiming that you owe an amount that’s not supported by law or the original creditor agreement
- Using hostile and obscene language
- Calling at inconvenient times, usually before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.
- Threatening legal actions they cannot take, such as having your property seized
- Calling you at work after you tell them that you can’t take personal calls there
- Contacting you after you have sent a cease and desist letter
Company Profile: Arstrat
If you are being called by Arstrat, here is some background information about the agency.
Arstrat, which also does business as Patient Accounting Service, LLC, is a debt collection agency located in Houston, Texas. It was founded in 2007, has a small staff of less than 10 employees, and is managed by CEO Charles Bracken.
It is primarily a medical debt collection agency. The PACER website retains records confirming that consumers who felt they were being harassed by Arstrat did not give in.
Alleged Violations against Arstrat
According to PACER, on or about July 18, 2014, Arstrat sent a collection letter to a California consumer seeking payment for a medical debt. The letter stated, in part,
The account(s) listed below have been assigned to us for collection. The balance shown is due by you in full for services provided. If we don’t receive communication within 25 days of the receipt of this statement, we will be forced to report this account(s) to a credit reporting agency or agencies. To resolve this matter, send payment in full or contact our office for assistance.
Thereafter, the letter mentioned that the consumer actually had 30 days after receiving the letter to dispute the validity of the alleged debt. The contradictory statement that it would be “forced to report” her account to a credit reporting agency if she did not contact the company within 25 days of receiving the letter was misleading and confusing to her.
Feeling harassed by Arstrat, the consumer sought the advice of an FDCPA attorney and sued the company for allegedly:
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt
- Using false, deceptive, and misleading means to collect a debt
- Misleading her dispute rights
The matter was later resolved.
Hire a Consumer Lawyer
The phone numbers for Arstrat are:
If they appear on your caller ID, it means that Arstrat may be trying to collect a debt from you. If they send collection letters that appear to mislead you regarding your dispute rights, consult a consumer lawyer so you can file a claim against Arstrat.
Misleading consumers is illegal under the FDCPA, and you could win $1000 in statutory damages plus legal costs. Don’t tolerate debt collector abuse when the law gives you an alternative.
Case taken from PACER (pacer.gov). File number is Case 2:14-cv-07817-RGK-JEM from the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Arstrat or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.