Is Commercial Trade Bureau calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Over forty years ago, debt collectors were so abusive towards consumers who owed a debt that in 1977 the US Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, to curb such behavior, which was linked to a rise in personal bankruptcies and marital breakdowns. The FDCPA grants anyone who owes a debt certain legal rights, namely the right to:
- Sue debt collectors who violate FDCPA rules while attempting to collect a debt from them
- Receive a debt validation letter within five days of the first communication
- Tell third-party debt collectors to cease contact
- Be represented by an attorney in a debt collection case, requiring debt collectors to stop dealing with the consumer directly
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also prohibits activities like the following when used to collect or attempt to collect a debt:
- Using profane or obscene language
- Calling before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the consumer’s time zone
- Threatening to have someone arrested or imprisoned for nonpayment of a debt
- Discussing the debt with anyone except the debtor, their spouse, or their attorney
- Ignoring a written request to cease contact
- Contacting someone at work when they know that the employer does not allow such calls to be taken
Commercial Trade Bureau is a collection agency headquartered in Bakersfield, California. It was established in 1967, employs a staff of 20 to 49, and specializes in collecting medical debt. Civil litigation records on file at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website confirm that Commercial Trade Bureau has been accused of violating the FDCPA while attempting to collect a consumer debt.
According to PACER**, in 2007, a California resident began receiving written communications from Commercial Trade Bureau about a debt he allegedly owed. These communications identified the company as the “Commercial Trade Bureau of California.” He later complained that the written statement that the company was the “Trade Bureau” of the State of “California” simulated a document that was authorized, issued, or approved by an agency of the United States or State, when in fact it was not.
He hired a consumer attorney and accused Commercial Trade Bureau of violating the FDCPA by creating a false representation or implication that the debt collector was vouched for or affiliated with the United States or any state.
The matter was later settled.
The phone numbers for Commercial Trade Bureau are 1-877-632-2108 and 1-661-632-2100. If you see either number on your caller ID, be aware that a Commercial Trade Bureau representative is attempting to contact you about a debt you allegedly owe. Should they send you written communications that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that they are vouched for by (or affiliated with) the State of California or the US Government, contact a consumer attorney.
If you take Commercial Trade Bureau to court, you could win statutory damages of $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus court costs and attorney fees. The FDCPA requires debt collectors to be transparent and professional during their dealings with you, and any company that does otherwise could end up being forced to pay you instead.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 1:08-cv-00083-AWI-SMS, from United States District Court, Eastern District of California)
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Commercial Trade Bureau or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.