Is Associated Credit Services calling you? Here's what you need to know.
A lot of consumers have never dealt with a debt collector, so when they fall behind in their bill payments and the collection calls begin, they are stressed, scared, and easily intimidated into making payments they can’t keep up or afford. This only makes the situation worse, but it’s a common scenario among debtors who don’t understand the rights and protections they have under the law.
Can a debt collector threaten to have you arrested or garnish your wages if you don’t settle that outstanding medical bill? Yell and curse at you? Call you nonstop at work if your workplace doesn’t allow personal calls? According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the answer is: not legally.
The FDCPA was enacted to combat abuses by third-party debt collectors. It protects consumers against harassment, intimidation, disclosure of debts to friends and coworkers, and other unethical tactics that collection agencies have been known to use. Prohibited behaviors include:
- Cursing and making threats they cannot legally follow up on
- Calling at places and times known to be inconvenient
- Calling non-stop with the intention of annoying and harassing the debtor
- Claiming to be police officers or attorneys when they are not
- Discussing a debt with anyone but the debtor, their spouse, or their attorney
- Refusing to cease communications upon request
Associated Credit Services, Inc has been taken to court for breaking the law during their dealings with debtors. Established in 1969 and located in Westborough, Massachusetts, the company employs approximately thirty staff and services a national client base across a variety of industries. Records kept by the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website turn up multiple instances of Associated Credit Services, Inc being sued for allegedly violating the FDCPA.
Abraham Manopla v. Associated Credit Services Inc
Acording to PACER**, in May 2013 New Jersey resident Abraham Manopla began getting calls from Associated Credit Services, Inc. debt collectors about an alleged debt owed to TD Bank. One agent specifically told Mr. Manopla, “TD bank and the managers listen to all the conversations and that's why they can't lie to him” and added that if the debt was disputed, it would sit unresolved, so it might as well be paid now.
In the complaint filed with the US District Court, Mr. Manopla’s attorney accused Associated Credit Services, Inc of the following illegal activities:
- Making false deceptive or misleading statements in connection with the collection of a debt (15 USC §1692e). In this instance, the alleged comment about TD Bank managers listening in to calls was false.
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt (15 USC §1692f). This claim referred to the alleged comment that the debt would sit unresolved if he disputed it.
The matter was then resolved.
The phone numbers for Associated Credit Services, Inc are 1-800-531-6500 and 1- 508-366-0888. If you see this number on your caller ID, a debt collector is trying to contact you, so be fully informed of your rights under the FDCPA. If the collection agent makes statements you suspect to be false in order to coerce you into settling the debt, hire a consumer attorney to represent you in the matter.
Associated Credit Services, Inc is legally obliged to stop contacting you after you engage legal counsel, and if your experience with the collection agents was particularly stressful and illegal, your attorney will help you sue them. You could be compensated up to $1,000 per FDCPA violation as well as actual damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees, so be aware of your rights.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File is Case 3:13-cv-05060-PGS-DEA from United States District Court, District of New Jersey
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Associated Credit Services, Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.