Is Credit Bureau Associates calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Most Americans owe money to one institution or another: a mortgage lender, credit card issuer, student loan provider, etc. If they lose their job, become too sick to work full-time, or experience a devastating (and expensive) personal setback like a divorce, a manageable debt load can suddenly become a major burden. Once they are unable to keep up the minimum payments, their creditors will likely turn all accounts over to a third-party debt collector.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, requires debt collectors to be honest and professional when collecting or attempting to collect a debt, and prohibits actions like the following:
- Swearing, raising their voice, and calling names like loser or deadbeat
- Using the telephone to harass someone (e.g. calling and hanging up, or leaving a stream of pre-recorded messages)
- Ignoring a formal cease communications request
- Threatening to have a person arrested if they don’t pay
- Trying to collect amounts that are not supported by law or the original creditor agreement
- Telling the person’s friends, neighbors, and co-workers that they owe money
Although such activities are illegal, debt collectors still use them to harass money out of consumers.
Credit Bureau Associates is a collection agency located in Fairfield, California. It was established in 1947, and collects consumer debt all over the country. Records on file at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website confirm that Credit Bureau Associates has been sued for alleged violations of the FDCPA.
According to PACER**, in March 2015, a Georgia resident received a collection letter from Credit Bureau Associates, regarding a debt she allegedly owed.
At the top of the letter “CRISP REGIONAL HOSPITAL” was listed, with no account number provided, and the amount owing of $2319.30. The letter also had a section titled “Previous Debts” and alleged an amount owed of $156.75. No creditor or account number was listed for them. Towards the bottom, left-hand side of the paper, the debt collection letter displayed a total account balance of $2,476.05 with only one account number listed.
She later claimed that she found the latter confusing and misleading, as it did not provide any creditor or information related to the ‘previous charges’ designated for collection. Consequently, she was unable to identify from where the alleged debt originated and whether the amount allegedly owed was accurate.
She hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint that accused the agency of violating 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e, 1692e(2), and 1692e(10) by demanding payment of an amount that was neither itemized or explained. She alleged that Credit Bureau Associates had employed misleading debt collection practices.
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone numbers for Credit Bureau Associates are 1-800-564-6440 and 1-9707-429-3211. If you see either number on your caller ID, a debt collector is attempting to contact you about a delinquent financial obligation. Should they send you a letter that makes it difficult to determine what you owe and to whom, contact a consumer attorney.
The FDCPA requires debt collectors to make the name of the original creditor and amount owed easy to discern, and if they do not, you could win statutory damages of $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus court costs and attorney fees. Any efforts to confuse or mislead you will only backfire.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 1:15-cv-00065-LJA, 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 Credit Bureau Associates or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.