Money problems can be difficult to manage, and persistent contact from a debt collector makes a hard situation even more stressful. Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from unethical and / or harassing third-party debt collection practices.
The law restricts the methods by which collection agencies may contact a debtor, as well as what time of day contact may be made and what can be said. For example: collectors are not permitted to do the following:
- Threaten to have you arrested or garnish your wages
- Call you at work if such calls are not permitted
- Present themselves as law enforcement
- Say they are attorneys if they are not
- Discuss the debt with anyone except you, your attorney, and possibly your spouse
Within five days of contacting you, a debt collector must provide you with written notice that reveals how much you owe, who the creditor is, and what actions you must take if you dispute the debt. If you advise them in writing that you want no further contact, they must honor that request, or risk being sued for violating the FDCPA.
Data Line Credit Corporation is located in Huntington Beach, California. According to Manta.com, the company was incorporated in 1973 and has 5 to 9 employees. A review of the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system and complaints posted on consumer affairs boards such as Ripoff Report accuse the company of repeated FDCPA violations. The latter complaints claim that Data Line Credit Corp. phone agents used rude and abusive language when discussing the debts.
Alfred Jones v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc et al
According to PACER**, in April 2006, a California consumer received a payment demand for a towing bill on a vehicle he had transferred to someone else the previous year. The Plantiff disputed the debt with Sacramento County and the towing company, but the debt was assigned to Data Line Credit Corp. for collection.
Data Line Credit Corp. representatives allegedly ran The Plaintiff's credit report, an act which Mr. Jones’ attorney referred to as a negligent and willful violation of the FCRA. (The Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits anyone from obtaining a consumer report without a valid purpose.) In the summons and complaint viewable on PACER (pacer.gov) it was claimed that because The Plaintiff had never sought or obtained credit from Sacramento County, Data Line Credit Corp. had no right to access his credit reports.
In addition to receiving unwanted contact from a debt collector, The Plaintiff claimed that the unauthorized access of his credit report resulted in increased costs for credit as well as outright denials.
The matter was later dismissed.
What to do if you get ‘the call’
The phone number for Data Line Credit Corp. is 1-714-841-5151. If you speak to a debt collector from their office, ask for written verification of the debt. By law they must provide you with such a confirmation within five days. If they refuse, keep calling you outside ‘normal’ hours or at work, or use threatening / rude language, there are a few actions you can take.
- Report the debt collector to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission
- Contact your state attorney general’s office: a lot of states have their laws concerning collections, and any debt collector who violates the FDCPA may be breaking state laws as well
It’s also recommended that you retain an attorney with FDCPA litigation experience. If Data Line Credit Corp. indulges in illegal and / or unethical tactics to collect money, you may be compensated up to $1000 per FDCPA violation, plus attorney’s fees and court costs. Even if you do owe money, you have the right to deal with the situation without being subjected to deceit or harassment.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (case number 2:08-cv-00103-FCD-DAD, 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 Data Line Credit Corp.or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.