No one wants to hear from a collection agency, especially when and can’t afford to pay. When you tell them this, many of them can turn hostile and try to harass you into paying. What they don’t want you to know is that by treating you this way, they are breaking federal law.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Federal Trade Commission regulates third-party collection agency activities via the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA, which prohibits actions like those below when used to collect a debt.
● Using profane and abusive language
● Telling you that you can be arrested and sent to prison if you don’t pay
● Talking to uninvolved parties such as your friends, family, and co-workers about the debt
● Refusing to validate the debt and prove that they are authorized to collect it
● Using an autodialer to leave a stream of pre-recorded messages
● Claiming to be police officers or other law enforcement figures
Company Profile: Hoffman Swartz and Associates
If you are being called by Hoffman Swartz and Associates, below is a detailed company overview.
Hoffman Swartz and Associates is a debt collection agency in Atlanta, Georgia. It opened for business in 2009, has fewer than 10 employees, and is managed by its Vice President of Operations, Anthony Smith. Records at the PACER website suggest that consumers who believed that they were being harassed by Hoffman Swartz and Associates did not passively accept harassment.
Alleged Violations against Hoffman Swartz and Associates*
According to information on the PACER website, in or around 2012, Hoffman Swartz and Associates started contacting a Kansas consumer to collect a debt. She complained that the agency called her at an abusive rate and even contacted her employer about the debt. One collector allegedly asked for her address so they could send the sheriff to pick her up.
Feeling harassed by Hoffman Swartz and Associates, the consumer fought back by suing the company for
● Using false, deceptive, and misleading means to collect a debt
● Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt
● Using harassing and abusive means to collect a debt
● Discussing her debt with third parties
A judge awarded the consumer $1,000 in statutory damages plus legal costs.
Hire a Consumer Lawyer
The phone numbers for this debt collection agency are:
If you see either of these numbers on your caller ID, it is confirmation that you are being called by Hoffman Swartz and Associates. If they harass you by phone and imply that you will be arrested if you don’t pay, hire a consumer lawyer and file a claim against Hoffman Swartz and Associates. You could potentially be awarded $1,000 per FDCPA violation plus court costs and attorney fees. When a debt collector mistreats you, taking legal action can get you the compensation you deserve.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). Case 2:12-cv-02581-EFM-KGG from the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.
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 Hoffman Swartz and Associates or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.