Is Greater California Financial Services calling you? Here's what you need to know.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes it illegal for debt collectors to indulge in certain collection activities. If you are a consumer dealing with a collection agency, it is important to know what they can and cannot do under federal law. Should they violate the FDCPA, you have the option of suing them, filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and / or contacting the Federal Trade Commission.
Prohibited actions include:
- Contacting you at an inconvenient or unusual time and place, such as early in the morning, late at night, or at work if you are not allowed to receive calls there
- Contacting you if the debt collector is aware that you are being represented by an attorney
- Continuing to call and / or send letters if you have requested in writing that they stop
- Refusing to provide you with information about the debt
- Using abusive language and making threats
- Claiming to represent an attorney’s office or government agency when they do not
- Threatening legal action they are not eligible to take
Alleged Violations against Greater California Financial Services*
Greater California Financial Services is located in Paso Robles, California. According to Manta.com, the company was incorporated in 1973 and has 20 to 49 employees. A review of the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system and complaints posted on consumer affairs boards indicate that the company has been sued many times for alleged FDCPA violations.
According to the filed court paperwork, in July 2011, a consumer was contacted by Greater California Financial Services representatives attempting to collect payment on a delinquent Wells-Fargo credit card account. She alleged that the agency failed to provide written details about the debt within five days after initial contact as required by federal law.
Greater California Financial Services also allegedly gave her daughter, who answered the phone, the information that the consumer owed a debt. In December after a 7:30 a.m. call, she informed the agency that the debt was in dispute and told them not to call her again. They continued to call her to the point that she allegedly became physically ill, making comments such as (we are) “patient and we always get our money... look us up on the Internet, we have a track record of always winning....”
The plaintiff’s attorney stated that Greater California Financial Services had committed several alleged FDCPA violations, including calling her at an unacceptable time, falsely represented the debt, and used unconscionable means to try collecting it. The matter was later settled.
What to do if you get ‘the call’
The phone number for Greater California Financial Services is 1-805-237-2040, so if your caller ID shows this number, they are attempting to collect an alleged debt from you. Respond to verbal or written communications by asking for proof of the debt. If it doesn’t arrive within five (5) days, or if the agency representative refuses to provide it to you (and threatens to escalate the matter by taking you to court), or they keep contacting you after you dispute the debt, see an attorney who handles cases involving FDCPA violations.
You have the right to be free of harassment even if you do owe money, and a skilled attorney can both protect your rights and help you take the debt collector to court for illegal collection tactics. If you win, you may be compensated up to $1000 an FDCPA violation the agency has committed, plus additional damages.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 3:12-cv-01397-H-NLS, 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 Greater California Financial Services or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.