Is Great Lakes Asset Management calling you? Here’s What You Need to Know
Most Americans carry some form of debt today: credit card balances, mortgage payments, medical debt, and student loans.
For some, the debt becomes more than they can handle, especially if their income takes a hit due to job loss, illness, or a personal setback like property damage or divorce.
Once they miss a certain number of payments, their accounts will likely be charged-off or handed over to third party debt collectors, who will then start calling.
Dealing with debt collectors can be a stressful experience, especially if they are rude and persistent.
You do not have to tolerate the harasment by unethical debt collectors, and you can take legal action against them.
They may have the right to collect your debt, but the only ethical way to do that is if they make sure to follow the law.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted in 1977 and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, who deal with matters like debt collection and unfair and unethical business practices.
It requires debt collectors to be fair and professional in their dealings with consumers, but unfortunately actions like these are commonly used to intimidate people into paying debts:
- Using profane or obscene language
- Calling outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in the consumer’s time zone
- Discussing the debt with unauthorized third parties such as the consumer’s friends, family, and co-workers
- Threatening legal actions they have no intention of carrying out
- Attempting to collect a debt that is in dispute
Alleged Violations against Great Lakes Asset Management*
Great Lakes Asset Management is a collection agency located in Niagara Falls, New York. It was established in 2004, has a small staff of around 28 employees, and collects debts throughout the country.
A review of civil litigation records on the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website indicates that Great Lakes Asset Management has been sued for allegedly violating the FDCPA during its debt collection attempts.
In January 2008, a Pennsylvania resident started getting calls from Great Lakes Asset Management about an alleged debt.
The collector, who identified herself as Miss Riley, was allegedly rude and disparaging toward him, called him at his place of employment after being told not to, and mentioned his debt to his supervisor and co-workers.
When the supervisor asked what one call was about, Ms. Riley allegedly replied that it had to do with a felony and she was going to fax over paperwork to attach wages.
She also allegedly threatened to garnish the plaintiff’s wages if he did not pay the debt as demanded. When he offered a payment arrangement, she allegedly rejected it as insufficient.
The plaintiff hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint accusing Great Lakes Asset Management of the following FDCPA violations:
- harassing and abusive debt collection practices
- Using false and deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect a debt
- Failure to identify itself as a debt collection agency in the initial communication
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone number for Great Lakes Asset Management is 1-716-297-8720. If you see it on your caller ID, it means that a debt collector is trying to contact you.
If the collection agent you deal with is rude and discusses your debt with unauthorized third parties, contact a consumer attorney.
Such activities violate the FDCPA, and you could win $1,000 per FDCPA violation, as well as court costs and attorney fees.
Even if you do owe a debt, you deserve to be treated with respect, and any debt collector that forgets this can be forced to pay you instead.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 2:08-cv-00726-AJS from United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania.
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 Great Lakes Asset Management or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.