Is Collection Bureau Associates calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
When you owe a lot of money and your accounts have been turned over to third-party collection agencies, hearing the phone ring can cause serious stress. You wonder if ‘that’ debt collector is calling again. The one who threatens to call everyone you know, talk to your neighbors, and ruin your credit? You also wonder if there’s any way to make them stop harassing you, since you sincerely can’t afford to pay.
Yes, there is.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was passed in 1977 to protect consumers like you from abusive debt collectors. This law forbids actions like the following during attempts to collect a debt.
- Swearing and yelling at you
- Threatening legal action they cannot take or have no intention of taking, such as having you arrested or garnishing your wages
- Refusing or failing to validate a debt and confirm their right to collect it
- Calling you outside of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. your time
- Talking to anyone about the debt except you, your spouse, your attorney, or any co-signers
Some debt collectors appear to deliberately disregard the FDCPA.
Collection Bureau Associates, Inc is a collection agency located in Bainbridge, Georgia. It was established in 2001 and is a smaller agency, with fewer than 10 employees. Records archived at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website indicate that the agency has been accused of violating the FDCPA while attempting to collect consumer debts.
According to PACER**, in 2010, two Georgia consumers were repeatedly contacted about a medical debt one of the consumers allegedly owed. The consumer’s aunt had paid the debt in full after the procedure was performed in 2004, and neither he nor his aunt had received any bills or communications before Collection Bureau Associates, Inc started calling in August 2011.
A collection agent called the second consumer’s cell phone and disclosed details of the debt, even though he was not authorized to receive that information. Then the first consumer got a call. He advised Collection Bureau Associates, Inc that the debt had been paid in full in 2004 and instructed the company to stop contacting him and the second consumer. The second consumer also requested no further contact. The calls, however, allegedly continued at the rate of up to four per day.
On or about August 24, 2011, the consumers sent a letter to Collection Bureau Associates, Inc, informing the company that they had hired an attorney and wanted no more contact. Both men later complained that the calls continued, and the debt collectors were frequently rude and insulting. They also allegedly called the first consumer’s parents and aunt and disclosed the existence of the debt to them, and threatened him with legal action.
The consumers filed a complaint that accused Collection Bureau Associates, Inc of the following FDCPA violations:
- Discussing the alleged debt with uninvolved third parties (15 U.S.C. § 1692b(2))
- Contacting them after being advised that they were represented by counsel (15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(2))
- Using abusive and harassing behavior to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. §1692d)
- Making calls that annoyed and harassed the consumers (15 U.S.C. §1692d(5))
- Placing calls without disclosing the name of the collection agency (15 U.S.C. §1692d(6))
- Misrepresenting the character, amount and legal status of the debt (15 U.S.C. §1692e(2))
- Threatening to take legal action without intending to do so (15 U.S.C. §1692e(5))
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone numbers for Collection Bureau Associates, Inc are 1-229-246-5533. If you see this number on your caller ID, a debt collector is trying to contact you about a debt you may not even owe. If you know the debt is already paid but the collector calls your friends and relatives and threatens you with legal action, see a consumer attorney and consider suing Collection Bureau Associates, Inc.
You could potentially win $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus court costs and attorney fees. When a debt collector disregards your rights, it can be an expensive mistake.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 1:11-cv-176-WLS, from United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia, Albany 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 Collection Bureau Associates, Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.