Is Beacon Services calling you? Here's what you need to know.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, makes it illegal for third-party debt collectors to use deception, threats, or aggressive, unethical behavior to collect debt payments from consumers. This consumer protection law applies to dedicated collection agencies, ‘junk’ debt buyers who acquire old debt and try to collect it, and attorneys who specialize in collecting debts owed to their clientele.
As a consumer, you have certain important rights under the FDCPA. They include:
- The right to dispute a debt
- The right to tell a third-party debt collector to stop contacting you
- The right to receive written information about the debt, mainly the amount allegedly owed, the name of the creditor, and how to dispute the debt
Although debt collectors are allowed to pursue payment for a legitimate debt, they are not permitted to use tactics that are abusive or underhanded. Examples of prohibited activities include:
- Calling you several times a day, including before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Calling you at work after you’ve told them that you are not allowed to talk to them there
- Using profane or obscene language
- Trying to collect more than the law and/or the original creditor agreement allow
- Ignoring you when you send them a written cease communications request
- Talking to anyone except you, your spouse, or your attorney about the debt
- Threatening to have you arrested, garnish your wages, and other actions that they cannot legally take or have no intention of taking
Not all debt collectors appear to take the FDCPA seriously. The Federal Trade Commission continues to hear complaints about debt collectors using methods that border on the punitive.
Beacon Services, LLC is a collection agency located in Timonium, Maryland. It was established in 1990 and is a smaller agency, with 10 to 19 employees. A review of the case files retained at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website reveals that Beacon Services, LLC has been accused of violating FDCPA guidelines when pursuing consumer debts.
According to PACER**, on or around July 1, 2014, an Illinois resident filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition that included a certain personal debt. Despite the filing, on or around September 2, 2014, Beacon Services, LLC sent him a collection letter and commenced collection efforts regarding the debt. The Illinois resident hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint that accused the agency of the following FDCPA violations:
- Sending a collection letter for a debt that was included in the Illinois resident's bankruptcy, thereby misrepresenting the legal status of the debt (15 USC § 1692e(2))
- Falsely representing that it could collect a debt that was included in the bankruptcy (15 USC § 1692e(10))
- Unfairly and unconscionably trying to collect a debt that it knew, or should have known, was included in a bankruptcy (15 USC § 1692f)
- Communicating with a consumer after the company knew, or should have known, that the Illinois resident was represented by an attorney regarding the debt (15 USC § 1692c(a)(2))
The matter was later settled.
The phone numbers for Beacon Services, LLC are 1-800-714-6667 and 1-410-842-1065. If either number appears on your caller ID, be aware that a representative from the agency is trying to contact you about a debt you may no longer owe. If they attempt to collect on a delinquent obligation that was discharged in a recent bankruptcy, contact a consumer attorney who can help you take Beacon Services, LLC to court.
You could receive statutory damages of $1,000 per violation as well as court costs and attorney fees, making the company’s decision to chase a nonexistent debt a very expensive error.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case: 1:15-cv-00233, from United States District Court, Northern Illinois)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Beacon Services, LLC or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.