Is Focus Receivable Management calling you? Here's what you need to know.
In today’s difficult economic climate, a lot of people fall behind on their bill payments, despite their best efforts to keep up. If an account is delinquent by a certain number of months, the creditor may turn it over to a third-party collection agency, which will pursue the account holder to settle the debt. Collecting an outstanding debt is legal, but unethical, unfair, and / or abusive methods of obtaining payments are not.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that regulates the way that third-party debt collectors may communicate with consumers about a debt. It prevents collection agencies from engaging in unprofessional conduct like the following:
- Using obscene and aggressive language
- Threatening to have someone arrested or imprisoned for nonpayment of the debt
- Calling at inconvenient times, usually before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the consumer’s time zone
- Calling someone at work after being advised that such calls are not permitted at the workplace
- Discussing the debt with anyone except the consumer, their spouse, or their attorney
- Contacting someone after receiving a formal request to cease communications
- Claiming to be an attorney or law enforcement officer
These and similar tactics are illegal, but that fact does not stop debt collectors from using them.
Alleged Violations against Focus Receivables Management*
Focus Receivables Management, which proclaims on its website that it “has debtors in its sights”, is a debt collection agency with offices in Georgia and New Mexico. Founded in 2001, it has been sued several times for alleged improper debt collection practices. Records held by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) contain multiple instances of Focus Receivables Management defending itself against accusations of consumer harassment and unethical business methods.
February 2011, a California resident began getting calls from Focus Receivables Management debt collectors. She later claimed that these agents refused to identify the original creditor or validate the debt. When she asked them to stop calling, one agent allegedly responded, “We will call until we get a payment.”
The plaintiff sent Focus Receivables Management a cease and desist letter, but debt collectors allegedly continued to phone her at home and work several times a day, sometimes using an auto dialer. They even allegedly discussed the debt with her mother.
The plaintiff's attorney accused Focus Receivables Management of the following FDCPA violations:
- Continuing to contact her after being requested to stop (15 U.S.C. 1692c (c))
- Causing her phone to ring continuously with the intent to harass her (15 U.S.C. 1692d (5))
- Refusal to validate the debt (15 U.S.C. 1692g)
- Discussing the debt with a third party (15 U.S.C. 1692c (b))
The matter was later dismissed.
If you receive a call from 1-877-362-8766, someone from Focus Receivables Management is trying to contact you about a debt. Under the FDCPA, you have the right to send them a cease and desist letter that prohibits them from contacting you further unless it’s to advise that collection efforts are stopping or legal action is being initiated against you.
If they keep calling you at home and work and / or use disrespectful language, see a consumer attorney. Once you have legal representation with regards to the debt, debt collectors must stop contacting you directly and deal with your attorney instead.
If you take Focus Receivables Management to court, you may also be eligible for a compensation of $1000 per FDCPA violation, making any earlier harassment an expensive mistake.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 3:11-cv-00733-DMS-BLM, from United States District Court, Southern District of California.
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 Focus Receivables Management or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.