Is Creditwatch Services Ltd calling you? Here's what you need to know.
The cost of living has gone up significantly in the last decade but salaries have not, so many people are living paycheck to paycheck nowadays. Not only does this make it difficult to save, but you can literally be one illness or layoff away from being unable to meet your regular financial obligations. Once your credit card bills, student loans, and medical debts go into arrears, debt collectors will start calling, and not all of them will be pleasant to deal with.
Forty years ago, harassment by third-party collection agencies was so rampant that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was passed to control their actions. Under the law, tactics like the following are illegal when used to collect a debt.
- Swearing, shouting at you, and calling you names like deadbeat or loser
- Calling you before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Telling you that you will be arrested, have your wages garnished, or lose your children if you don’t pay
- Trying to collect an amount that is not authorized by law or the original creditor agreement
- Discussing your debt with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers
- Calling you at work when your employer does not allow such calls
Many debt collectors don’t consider the law an obstacle when it comes to getting your money. They will do whatever it takes to make you pay.
Creditwatch Services Ltd is a collection agency located in Fort Worth, Texas, with additional offices in Louisiana and New Mexico. It was established in 1990, employs a staff of approximately 50 to 200 employees, and collects debt all over the country. The PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website contains archived litigation files that name Creditwatch Services Ltd. as a defendant in multiple FDCPA violation cases.
Thomas Whatley III v. Creditwatch Services Ltd.
According to PACER**, in March 2011 a Texas resident started getting collection calls from Creditwatch Services Ltd. about a medical debt. He later complained that at least one of the calls resulted in a voicemail message in which the representative allegedly failed to disclose that the communication was from a debt collector.
On March 23, he spoke to a collector named Maria, who allegedly stated that Creditwatch Services Ltd. had attorneys that were hired to collect on his balance. In response, he asked for the names of these attorney and whether or not there was legal action pending against him. She allegedly responded by stating that the matter had not been sent to the legal department, and therefore, no attorneys were involved in the debt collection process.
He verbally demanded that Creditwatch Services Ltd stop calling his cell phone. He was allegedly told that a verbal request to cease and desist all calls was insufficient and that the cease and desist request must be submitted in writing to be valid.
Creditwatch Services Ltd allegedly continued to place non-emergency calls to his cell phone, using an automatic telephone dialing system and leave messages that failed to notify him that the communication was from a debt collector.
On April 4, 2011, His attorney sent a notice of representation to Creditwatch Services Ltd via certified mail. The agency allegedly continued to call his cell phone even after receiving this notice.
Frustrated, he filed a complaint that accused Creditwatch Services Ltd of the following FDCPA violations:
- Leaving voicemail messages that failed to identify the caller and company as a debt collector seeking to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. §1692d(6) and 1692e(11))
- Suggesting that certain calls were from a law office (15 U.S.C. §1692e(3) and 1692e(10))
- Calling the consumer directly after being advised that he was represented by counsel (15 U.S.C. §1692f and 15 U.S.C. §1692c(a)(2))
A judge ordered Creditwatch Services, Ltd to pay the plaintiff damages in the amount of $9,000 plus attorneys’ fees in the amount of $54,441.37.
The phone numbers for Creditwatch Services, Ltd are 1-800-876-1888, 1-817-864-3300 and 1-682-503-7004. If you check your caller ID and see any of these numbers, a debt collector is attempting to contact you about a debt.
If they use an autodialer to harass you by phone, leave messages that do not identify the caller as a debt collector, or contact you even after you’ve retained counsel regarding the debt, see a consumer attorney.
You could potentially win $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus court costs and attorney fees, all of which can cumulatively create a major penalty for Creditwatch Services, Ltd.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 4:11-cv-00493-RAS-DDB, from United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Sherman 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 Creditwatch Services, Ltd or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.