Is Hosto & Buchan calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Falling behind on your financial obligations is a stressful position to be in, especially if you’re in those circumstances through no fault of your own. But the goods news that you still have rights under the law, even if you do owe a personal debt to a creditor. If they assign your account to a third-party collection agency, there are strict guidelines that the debt collector must follow while dealing with you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) regulates the interactions between third party debt collectors and consumers. Under this federal law, which was passed by the US Congress in 1977, the following debt collection activities are illegal.
- Calling you before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. your time, unless you have given them permission to do so.
- Calling you at work after being told that your boss does not allow such calls
- Swearing, yelling, and insulting you
- Calling you repeatedly and not leaving a message, or hanging up when you answer.
- Failing to identify themselves as debt collectors
- Talking about the debt to anyone but you, your spouse, or your attorney
- Threatening consequences they cannot legally take, such as have you arrested or imprisoned if you don’t pay
Alleged Violations against Hosto & Buchan*
Located in Little Rock, Arkansas, Hosto & Buchan was established in 1989 and consists of 14 attorneys who exclusively represent creditors in debt collection services. Their service areas presently consist of Arkansas and Texas. The firm’s collection approach and practices have often resulted in lawsuits, which are viewable on the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website.
In January 2012, a Texas consumer received three different phone calls from Hosto & Buchan, each one advising that a lien had been placed against her due to an unpaid debt. During one conversion, the debt collector allegedly said,"I’ll just move forward on this account. As I stated, you have an account that has been forwarded over to (Hosto). I’m also showing you have a judgment that has been placed against you on this. Um, you have a lien also. Let me see…”
The consumer insisted that she had no idea what they were talking about. The agent’s reply was, “OK, you have never been served on this account ma’am?”
“Nor with the court?”
“OK, let me see what the notes state on here. I’m showing you have a lien.”
When the consumer responded with disbelief, the agent allegedly responded, “You have a judgment placed against you. If you have any property, you also have a lien placed against your property.”
Only after the consumer argued the matter further and insisted that she had no property did the Hosto & Buchan agent allegedly concede that that no lien existed.
Worried, the consumer retained an attorney, who made inquiries and found that no lien had been placed, as she did not own property for which a lien could be attached.
In the complaint filed with the US District Court, the consumer’s attorney alleged that Hosto & Buchan had violated violated 15 U.S.C. 1692e, and specifically 1692e(2), 1692e(5), and 1692e(10), as well as 15 U.S.C. 1692f, particularly 1692f(f)(6)by misrepresenting the existence of a lien against her property in an attempt to collect a debt.
The matter was later settled.
The phone number for Hosto & Buchan is 1-888-352-3980. If this number appears on your caller ID and you speak to a representative from the firm, ask for verification of all alleged debt, and if they suggest that a lien has been attached to your property, contact a consumer attorney with experience in FDCPA matters. Misrepresenting a debt is illegal under the FDCPA, and if the matter goes to court, you could be awarded $1,000 or more, plus associated costs. Never assume that what you’re being told by a debt collector is the truth, especially if a lot of money is at stake.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 4:13-cv-00025, from United States District Court, Southern District of Texas.
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 Hosto & Buchan or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.