Financial problems are major stressors. When debt collectors start calling about overdue student loans, credit card accounts, or medical bills, it can take a serious toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. Debt collector harassment has also been linked to marital breakdowns, personal bankruptcies, and other issues. Although it is legal to be persistent when attempting to collect from you, abusive and deceptive methods cross the line.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits third-party debt collectors from being hostile and unethical when attempting to collect money from you. Tactics like the following can result in high fines and even loss of the agency’s license.
- Failing to identify themselves as debt collectors seeking to collect a debt
- Calling you at all hours of the day and night
- Contacting you even after you dispute a debt
- Claiming to be law enforcement officials who will arrest you for nonpayment
- Telling uninvolved third parties that you owe a debt
- Swearing and yelling to intimidate you into paying
Company Profile: First Step Group, LLC
If you are being called by First Step Group, LLC, information about the company is below:
First Step Group, LLC is a debt collection agency located in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. It was established in 2014, has less than 10 employees, and is managed by its President, Brian Bowers.
Litigation records retained by the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website confirm that consumers who believed they were being harassed by First Step Group, LLC filed lawsuits to fight back.
Alleged Violations against First Step Group, LLC
Lea Reich, on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated consumers vs. First Step Group, LLC*
According to PACER, on or about May 30, 2014, First Step Group, LLC sent New York resident Lea Reich a debt collection letter. The letter was enclosed in a glassine window that displayed her account number, just above her name and address. This was private information that she insisted should have been kept private.
Feeling harassed by First Step Group, LLC, Ms. Reich hired a consumer attorney and sued the company for allegedly violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Using unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt
- Using any language or symbol on envelopes mailed to consumers that revealed information other than the debt collector's address
The matter was later settled.
Hire an Attorney
The phone numbers for this collection agency are:
If either of these numbers appear on your caller ID, be aware that you are being called by First Step Group, LLC. If they fail to keep your personal information secret during debt collection attempts, hire a consumer attorney.
If you file a claim against First Step Group, LLC with your attorney’s assistance and win, you could potentially be awarded $1,000 per violation as well as attorney's fees, court costs, and any actual damages, so never believe that debt collectors can abuse you without consequence.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is Case 1:14-cv-07435-ILG-JO from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against First Step Group, LLC, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.