Is ConServe calling you?* Here's what you need to know
When you fall behind in your monthly debts and collection agencies start calling you every day at all hours, it is an incredibly disruptive and stressful experience. If these debt collectors are rude, demanding and discuss your debt with outside parties such as friends and families who answer the phone, the pressure may get to me too much, tempting you to file for bankruptcy to make it stop. Don’t let yourself reach that point, because you have rights no matter how much you owe.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, mandates professional and ethical behavior and prohibits actions like the following during a debt collection attempt. If a collection agencies does otherwise, it risks heavy fines and even license revocation.
- Swearing and calling you names
- Calling you at work after you’ve told them that your boss does not permit such calls
- Calling at all hours of the day and night
- Claiming that you have committed a crime
- Talking to uninvolved parties such as your friends, family, and co-workers about the debt
- Making threats they have no intention of following up on
Company Profile: ConServe
ConServe, whose full business name is Continental Service Group, Inc., is a debt collection company located in Fairport, New York. It was established in 1985, has 100 to 249 employees, and is managed by its President, Mark E. Davitt. ConServe has been the subject of 91 complaints to the Better Business Bureau in the last three years, and a review of litigation files at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website reveals that the company has been accused of collection activities that violate the FDCPA.
Alleged Violations against ConServe
On or about October 1, 2014, ConServe mailed a collection letter to a Wisconsin resident regarding an alleged federal student loan debt. The letter, which appeared to be generated from a boilerplate, sought to collect “FEES & COSTS” of $122.52, which amounted to approximately 24.3 percent of the principal and interest. There was no clear explanation of the “FEES & COSTS” were.
She believed that the added amount was a collection fee added by ConServe, and federal law limited collection fees on direct student loans to 20 percent of the borrower’s monthly payment. She hired a consumer attorney and filed a class action lawsuit against the collection agency for the following alleged violations:
- Misrepresenting the character, amount or legal status of the debt
- Using false representations and/or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect the alleged debt
The matter was later settled.
Hire an Attorney
The phone numbers for ConServe are:
If you see either of these numbers on your caller ID when the phone rings, a debt collector is calling. If they inflate the amount of your alleged debt with unauthorized service or collection fees, hire a consumer attorney. Such an action violates the FDCPA, and if the matter goes to court, you could potentially be awarded $1,000 per FDCPA violation as well as attorney's fees, court costs, and any actual damages. Standing up for yourself against a debt collector could literally pay off.
*DISCLAIMER: Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against ConServe or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 2:14-cv-01379-LA from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Division.