Is ESM Enterprises Inc Calling You? There are some things you should know.
Nearly everyone today owes some form of debt: mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and medical bills to name a few.
Some people, however, find themselves saddled with more debt than they can pay back, especially if they lose their job or undergo an expensive personal crisis like a divorce.
When their accounts go into arrears, debt collectors will soon start calling, and not all of them are understanding or respectful when it comes to personal crises.
Debt collectors have a negative reputation for a reason.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires collectors to be professional and ethical when collecting debts.
However, tactics like the following are common enough to warrant thousands of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission every year, including complaints about:
- Using profane or obscene language
- Calling you several times per day
- Calling you outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. your time
- Telling your friends, family, and co-workers particulars about your debt
- Persisting in trying to collect a disputed debt
- Threatening you with property damage or personal harm
- Making threats they have no intention of carrying out, such as seizing your property or garnishing your wages
These debt collectors ignore the FDCPA because they may be too confident that you will never report them.
ESM Enterprises Inc, also known as Check Assist, is a collection agency located in Pensacola, Florida. It was established in 1991, has a small staff of less than 20 employees and collects consumer debt all over the country.
Its website includes the following statement:
“No one likes being the bad guy,” says Check Assist President Dan Pollak, “but it’s one of the key advantages that we offer business owners; we’ll turn up the heat, at the right time, and the business operator doesn’t have to dirty his hands and still gets to be the good guy and preserve that customer relationship.”
Alleged Violations against ESM Enterprises Inc*
A review of the litigation records archived at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website confirms that ESM Enterprises Inc has been sued for allegedly violating the FDCPA during debt collection attempts.
In January 2005, Michigan resident Sara Eager wrote a check for $25.00, made payable to Davis Oil Company, for goods purchased at a Marathon service station.
The check supposedly was returned to Davis for insufficient funds. The company charged off the debt and sold it, after which it was assigned to ESM Enterprises Inc, to collect.
On October 5, 2012 ESM Enterprises Inc allegedly called her and left the following message:
"[Name of Plaintiff]. my name is Mr. Hassell. It is important that you return my call to 888-477-6558. Thank you."
After realizing that she was dealing with a debt collector, Ms. Eager refused to pay the debt, which was time-barred.
She hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint accusing ESM Enterprises Inc of the following FDCPA violations:
- Leaving messages that did not meaningfully disclose the caller’s identity
- Failure to identify itself as a debt collection agency in the initial communication
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone numbers for ESM Enterprises Inc are 1-850-477-6558, 1-888-477-6558 and 1-800-457-6558. If any of these numbers appear on your caller ID, it means that a debt collector is trying to contact you about a debt you may no longer even owe.
If they leave messages that conceal the name of the company they represent and persist in trying to collect a time-barred debt, see a consumer attorney.
Should the matter escalate to the courtroom, you could win $1,000 per FDCPA violation, as well as court costs, attorney fees, and any actual damages.
As a consumer you are entitled to be treated with respect, and debt collectors who forget that can receive an expensive reminder.
*Case taken from PACER (pacer.gov). File number is 1:12-cv-01097-GJQ from United States District Court, Western District of Michigan, Southern Division.
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 ESM Enterprises Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.