Is Bilateral Credit Corp calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Are you being harassed by a debt collector who calls you day and night and demands payment in hostile, threatening ways? If so, did you know that such conduct is illegal, even if you do owe a delinquent debt?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which was passed in 1977 as a consumer protection measure, makes it illegal for third-party debt collectors to use hostile and unethical means to collect money from debtors. Prohibited tactics include (but are not limited to):
- Calling you before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Misrepresenting the amount owed
- Yelling, swearing, and name calling
- Telling you that you can be arrested or sent to jail if you don’t pay them
- Calling you at work after you’ve told them that such calls are not allowed there
- Pretending to be a police officer or attorney to intimidate you into paying
- Threatening consequences they cannot legally bring about, such as ‘ruining’ your credit
- Failing to advise the credit bureaus when a debt is in dispute
- Talking to uninvolved third parties about the debt
These tactics have been illegal for decades, but debt collectors persist in using them because many consumers are simply unaware of their rights under the FDCPA. It’s an ignorance that unscrupulous collectors use to their advantage.
Bilateral Credit Corp LLC is a debt collection agency with offices in New York and East Providence, Rhode Island. Established in 1970, it employs an estimated 50 to 99 staff and specializes in commercial and retail debt collections. A search of the court case files retained by the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website reveals that Bilateral Credit Corp LLC has been accused of violating the FDCPA while collecting or attempting to collect a debt.
According to PACER**, during January and February 2011, a North Carolina consumer was contacted at both home and work by debt collectors from Bilateral Credit Corp LLC. When they informed her that she owed money on a Wachovia credit card, the consumer contacted Wachovia directly, as she did not believe that she ever had a credit card with them. Bank representatives confirmed that she had never had a credit card with them.
When the consumer spoke to Bilateral Credit Corp LLC representatives, she asked for additional information about the alleged debt. The agent was unable to provide her with any details but allegedly stated that they would contact whichever company the debt was purchased from for additional information. In the meantime, they allegedly demanded that she pay it, stating that if the alleged debt did not belong to her, Bilateral would refund her.
When she refused, the agent allegedly threatened to report the alleged debt to the Credit Reporting Agencies and garnish her wages. No such action was ever taken.
The consumer hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint that accused the agency of the following FDCPA violations:
- Using profane and abusive language when speaking with a consumer (15 U.S.C. § 1692d(2))
- Misrepresenting the character and legal status of a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e(2))
- Threatening the consumertive means to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e(10))
- Failing to send a validation notice stating the amount of the debt, the name of the original creditor, the fact that the consumer could dispute the debt within 30 days, and that she had a right to have verification and judgment mailed to her (15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a))
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone number for Bilateral Credit Corp LLC is 1-212-947-1200. If this number shows up on your caller ID, a debt collector is trying to contact you about a financial obligation you allegedly owe. If they swear at you, try to make you pay a debt you don’t legally owe, or fail to send you a debt validation letter, contact a consumer attorney who will help you protect the rights that the FDCPA grants you.
If you take the matter to court and win, Bilateral Credit Corp LLC could be ordered to pay you $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus court costs and attorney fees. Even if you owe a debt, the law demands that you be treated with respect, and debt collectors who fail to heed can end up being the ones who pay.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 5:11-cv-00234-F, from United States District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Bilateral Credit Corp LLC or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.