Is Direct Credit Control calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re being harassed by debt collectors, you aren’t the first and won’t be the last. In 1977 the US government was forced to step in and pass the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) because so many indebted Americans were declaring bankruptcy to stop the incessant and abusive phone calls and letters.
This consumer protection law grants you the right to dispute a debt and order the collector to stop calling you, and makes it illegal for third-party debt collectors to use methods like those below to collect or attempt to collect a debt:
- Swearing, raising their voice, and making threats they have no intention of carrying out
- Pretending to be attorneys, police officers, or federal agents to intimidate you
- Leaving voice messages that do not identify the collector and the purpose of their call
- Discussing the debt with your family (with the possible exception of your spouse), friends, and co-workers
- Calling you at all hours of the day and night
- Calling you at work when they know your employer doesn’t allow you to take personal calls
The Federal Trade Commission receives thousands of complaints per year about illegal debt collection practices, so unfortunately these unethical collection ruses remain in use.
Direct Credit Control is a collection agency located in Beverly Hills, California. It was established in 2000, has 10 to 19 employees, and advertises itself as a member of the California Association of Collectors and the American Collectors Association. Court records on file at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website confirm that Direct Credit Control has been accused of violating the FDCPA during its communications with consumers.
Plaintiff v. Direct Credit Control
According to PACER**, in April 2011 a California resident began getting collection calls from Direct Credit Control agents. One collector, Dorothy Marine, allegedly phoned her up to three times a day. On April 19 Ms. Marine sent the Plaintiff a letter that stated, “It appears we may take legal action against you or recommend to our client that they initiate a lawsuit in small claims court to enforce payment.” She also called but allegedly failed to indicate the purpose of her call in the voice message.
The next day, Ms. Marine spoke to The Plaintiff directly and allegedly stated, “We are going to sue you” but no lawsuit ever materialized.
The Plaintiff hired a consumer attorney and sued Direct Credit Control for the following alleged FDCPA violations.
- Using harassing and abusive means to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. §1692d)
- Using deceptive means in connection with the collection the alleged debt (15 U.S.C. §1692e)
- Making continuous calls that Ms. Harding found distressing (15 U.S.C. §1692d(5))
- Threatening to file a lawsuit when it had no intention of doing so (15 U.S.C. §1692e(5))
- Failing to identify all communications as coming from a debt collector (15 U.S.C. §1692e(11))
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone numbers for Direct Credit Control are 1-888-860-2950 and 1-714-729-4795. If your phone rings and either number appears on your caller ID, a debt collector is calling. The FDCPA requires them to communicate with you in a professional manner, so if the collector calls several times a day and threatens lawsuits that never happen, see a consumer attorney who can help you pursue the matter in court.
You could win $1,000 in statutory damages per FDCPA violation, as well as court costs and attorney fees, so do not hesitate to exercise your rights when a debt collector pushes you too far.
**Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is (Case 2:11-cv-04117-DDP-AJW from United States District Court, Central District of California, Western 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 Collection Bureau or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.