Is California Business Bureau calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Most Americans carry debt nowadays. According to the Washington Times, mortgage debt alone has doubled to $8 trillion since 1998. An estimated 10% of credit card holders owe more than $10,000 in "plastic debt" alone. Most people succeed in managing their debt, but in today’s economy, more Americans are losing their jobs and/or becoming too ill to work.
For these consumers, their debt burden becomes a nightmare that only gets worse when debt collectors start calling.
Debt collectors and collection agencies have an unsavory reputation for harassing those who owe money. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed on 1977 to protect consumers from this type of abuse, but the behaviors below are regrettably common:
- Calling someone several times a day, every day
- Using rude and threatening language
- Trying to collect amounts that are not authorized by law or the original agreement that created the debt
- Calling people at work when they know that such calls are not permitted by the employer
- Telling the person’s friends, family, and co-workers that they owe money
- Claiming that a debtor can be arrested, have their wages garnished, or lose their children if they do not pay immediately
California Business Bureau, Inc is a collection agency with two California offices: one in Monrovia and the other in San Diego. It was established in 1973, specializes in collecting medical debt, and employs between 100 and 249 people. Court records on file at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website contain a number of instances involving California Business Bureau and alleged violations of the FDCPA.
John and Kristen Winder v. California Business Bureau, Inc.; and DOES 1-10, inclusive
According to PACER***, in or around 2010 California resident John Winder acquired a medical debt that allegedly became delinquent and was passed on to California Business Bureau, Inc for collection. In December Kristen Winder, spoke with agency representatives in an attempt to make payment arrangements.
During their conversations, she offered to begin making payments on the debt so long as California Business Bureau, Inc agreed to remove the debt from Mr. Winder’s credit report after it was fully paid. The agency allegedly agreed to the terms.
When Mrs. Winder requested that the agreement be confirmed in writing, California Business Bureau, Inc allegedly refused to provide anything in writing but assured her that they had a deal.
Based on that promise, the Winders began making monthly payments toward the debt, which was paid in full in January 2013. Rather than deleting the debt from the credit report, California Business Bureau, Inc instead changed its status to “paid collection.”
The Winders contacted the agency to request that the agreement to delete the debt be honored, but California Business Bureau, Inc allegedly refused to delete the entry. The Winders responded by hiring an attorney and suing California Business Bureau, Inc for the following alleged FDCPA violations:
- Engaging in behavior the natural consequence of which was to harass, oppress, or abuse the Winders in connection with the collection of a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692d)
- Using false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e)
- Employing false and deceptive means to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e(10))
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692f)
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone numbers below all belong to California Business Bureau, Inc:
If you see any of these numbers on your caller ID, a debt collector is attempting to discuss a debt with you. Should they make payment agreements that they later renege on, contact a consumer attorney.
The FDCPA requires debt collectors to be both ethical and transparent when dealing with consumers, and failure to comply could result in them being ordered to pay you statutory damages of $1,000 per violation plus court costs and attorney fees. No matter how much money you owe, the FDCPA gives you rights that debt collectors need to respect.
The size and nature of your debt have nothing to do with how you should be treated as a human being. If third-party collectors are subjecting you to the type of harassment outlined in the FDCPA, you should consider completing a free case evaluation and filing a claim with the help of an FDCPA attorney. Winning your claim could mean netting $1000 for each FDCPA violation, along with additional damages, and having an attorney increases the likelihood that you’ll have a successful claim. Your attorney can aid in gathering evidence, arguing on your behalf, and knowing exactly what is required at each point in the case. In other words, your attorney will be in the best position to help you navigate this complex process and finally get the peace of mind that you deserve.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 2:13-cv-01313-KJM-AC, from United States District Court, Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against California Business Bureau, Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.