Is Asset Acceptance calling you? Here's what you need to know.
When you fall behind on a financial obligation, your creditor may hire a debt collection to obtain the outstanding payments and balance, paying the collector a percentage on the amount they recover rom you. Sometimes a creditor will even sell your debt to a ‘junk’ debt buyer for a reduced amount, leaving the collector to get as much money as they can from you.
Interactions with a debt collector can be stressful and unpleasant, especially if they do the following:
- Call you every day, sometimes repeatedly in the same day
- Tries to contact you at work
- Leaves voicemail messages threatening your arrest, imprisonment, or wage garnishment if you don’t pay immediately
The truth is that they cannot do this to you, at least not legally. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) places limitations on collection agencies via the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA. Under this consumer protection legislation, the actions below are prohibited.
- Using abusive and threatening language
- Calling you at inconvenient times (outside of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in your timezone) or at work if such calls are not allowed
- Continuously calling you with the intent to annoy, harass, or intimidate
- Sharing details about your alleged debt with third parties who are not your spouse or attorney
- Pretending to be attorneys or police officers to scare you into paying
- Threatening to sue you or have you arrested when they lack the legal means to do so
Asset Acceptance, LLC is a collection agency that has been accused of these and other FDCPA violations. A subsidiary of Encore Capital Group, Asset Acceptance is located in Warren, Michigan. It was established in 1962 and promotes itself on the company website as “returning value to our credit driven economy.” According to the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website, Asset Acceptance, LLC has named as a defendant in several lawsuits involving FDCPA violations.
Jack Coleman v. Asset Acceptance, LLC
According to PACER**, in September 2011, Jack Coleman, a Michigan resident, began receiving calls from Asset Acceptance representatives regarding a veterinary hospital bill. The calls continued until August 2012. During this time, Mr. Coleman alleged that the debt collectors indulged in the following harassing tactics:
- Calling him multiple times in a single day
- Failing to explain how he could make payments
- Failing to tell him that unless he disputed the debt within 30 days, the debt would be assumed to be valid.
- Calling at improper and inconvenient times
- Failing to identify themselves during conversations
- Threatening a lawsuit that they never initiated
Mr. Coleman hired an attorney and filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court. The complaint accused Asset Acceptance of the following FDCPA breaches:
- Contacting a consumer at any unusual time or place, and at a time or place known to be inconvenient, in violation of Section 1692c(a)(1)
- Harassing, oppressive behavior in connection with collecting a debt, in violation of Section 1692d
- Causing a telephone to ring continuously and repeatedly with the intention of harassing a consumer, in violation of Section 1692d(5)
- Calling a consumer without making a meaningful disclosure of their identity, in violation of Section 1692d(6)
- Using false, deceptive or misleading actions in connection with the collection of a debt, in violation of Section 1692e
- Using unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt, in violation of Section 1692f
- Failing to send a consumer written notice of a debt within five days of the original communication, in violation of Section 1692g
The suit was later dismissed.
The phone numbers for Asset Acceptance, LLC are 1-800-545-9931 and 1-586-446-7826, so if these numbers appear on your caller ID, a debt collector is seeking money from you. If their dealings with you are hostile, deceptive, or in any way unethical, see a consumer attorney.
Legally, Asset Acceptance, LLC must cease contacting you once you have retained counsel with regards to the debt, and if you take them to court, you could win up to $1,000 per FDCPA violation as well as actual damages and litigation-related fees. Know your rights when dealing with debt collectors, and be prepared to act on them.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 1:12-cv-13734-TLL-CEB from United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Asset Acceptance or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.