Is Integrity Collections calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Many Americans are in a precarious financial position, often through no fault of their own. They’ve lost their jobs due to layoffs, been injured or suffered a devastating illness, or undergone a divorce that racked up huge legal bills.
Whatever the reason, they’re now at a point where they’re using their credit cards to make ends meet and only paying interest or service charges every month instead of reducing their debt. When they can no longer afford these minimum payments, debt collectors will start calling.
Make no mistake about it: dealing with a debt collector can be stressful, especially if they keep contacting you to the point of harassment. Some will even yell and threaten. Others will freely use tactics like the following to intimidate you.
- Calling you at work (after you’ve told them that you aren’t allowed to talk to them there) and threatening to discuss the debt with your boss or payroll department
- Swearing and calling you names
- Calling at all hours of the day and night
- Demanding amounts that exceed the original debt
- Telling you that you can be jailed for fraud or a related crime if you don’t pay
- Talking to uninvolved parties such as your friends, family, and co-workers about the debt
Alleged Violations against Integrity Collections*
Such actions are illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which requires debt collectors to be follow a code of ethics when dealing with consumers, but some agencies are too obsessed with getting your money to let the law hinder them.
Integrity Collections is a collection agency headquartered in Midlothian, Virginia. It was established in 2005, has a small staff of under five employees, and specializes in medical debt. The litigation records archived at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website indicate that Integrity Collections has been accused of violating the FDCPA during debt collection attempts.
Chasity Frye v. Integrity Collections, LLC
In March 2008 Georgia resident Chasity Frye received a dunning letter from Integrity Collections. It allegedly contradicted the validation language required by the FDCPA by stating that it was “imperative” that she contact the agency immediately to discuss payment arrangements. The letter arrived in a window envelope that identified the sender as Integrity Collections.
A few days later Integrity Collections called Ms. Frye and allegedly failed to leave a message that identified the caller and the company they worked for. More letters followed, until one arrived in May that demanded $310 instead of the original $256.
Ms. Frye hired a consumer attorney and sued Integrity Collections for the following alleged FDCPA violations:
- Placing calls that did not meaningfully disclose the caller’s identity
- Using false, deceptive, and misleading means to collect a debt
- Misrepresenting the amount of the debt
- Failing to identify the company as a debt collector in all communications
- Trying to collect an amount not permitted by law or the original creditor agreement
- Putting the name of the collection agency on the outside of each envelope
The matter was later settled.
The phone number for Integrity Collections is 1-804-378-5161. If you see it on your caller ID, be aware that a debt collector is trying to contact you about a debt it has been assigned to collect. If Integrity Collections agents leave voicemail messages that don’t identify them as debt collectors, send letters with the agency’s name on the return address, or try to demand an inflated amount, contact a consumer attorney.
All of these actions are illegal under the FDCPA, and you could potentially receive $1,000 per violation plus attorney's fees, court costs, and any actual damages. Even if you do owe a debt, Integrity Collections has to follow regulatory guidelines in collecting it, or risk having to pay you instead.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 4:08-cv-00095-HLM, from United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division.
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 Integrity Collections or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.