The last thing you need when you’re struggling is a call from a debt collector. Collection agencies buy debt from credit, healthcare, and other companies, because they are more aggressive in getting that money back. Unfortunately, many collectors use harassment, deception, and unfair treatment.
To protect consumers, the Federal Trade Commission passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) stop the abuse from collection agencies. After contacting you the first time, the debt collection agency must send you a collection letter within five days, among other things. Violations of the FDCPA include:
- Harassing you or using rude and obscene language
- Calling you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. or at other times you told said were inconvenient.
- Calling you at work if your employer doesn’t allow it.
- Calling you or after you’ve sent a written request to stop.
- Harassing friends and family members or telling them details of your debt.
- Lying about being a debt collection agency
- Falsifying the amount you owe or the debt all together
- Threatening legal action they can’t take or don’t intend to take.
Luebke Baker & Associates started in 1993 in Cumming, Georgia. They have about 70 employees and reported making over $500,000 per year. The company works predominantly with magazine and other subscription services.
Laws Luebke Baker & Associates has been Accused of Breaking**
Luebke Baker & Associates isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has no rating. It has been involved in numerous court cases. In 2012, it lost a lawsuit and settled for $3.1 million, the Federal Trade Commission reported for collecting bogus magazine subscription fees. The agency paid each customer over S11,000. Luebke Baker & Associates were notified in 2003 of the federal order against Cross Media Marketing Corp, the original bogus debt sellers, but ignored the requirements.
Allegedly, Luebke Baker & Associates violated the FDCPA, FTC Act, and the Telemarketing Sales Rules by:
- Using obscene or rude language and otherwise verbally harassing consumers.
- Lying about their identity as a collection agency and falsely labeled their caller ID, claiming they were attorneys at a law firm and others.
- Threatening to take legal action that was illegal to take, such as garnishing wages.
- Telling customers that magazine subscription debts are exempt from the statute of limitations.
- Collecting up-front fees
- Manipulating consumers into agreeing to subscriptions
- Giving information to other false telemarketers
- Collecting debts that don’t exist or trying to force consumers to pay debts they don’t owe.
- Calling you excessively or at unreasonable times.
What to Do if Luebke Baker & Associates is Trying to Collect a Debt from You
You have the right to stop them from calling you. You need to send a request in writing, and every time they contact you after that it could be a violation. Keep track of the day and time of every time they call after that. Keep in mind, if you do owe a debt, this request will not make the debt go away, it will only stop contact.
They are only allowed to contact you for two other reasons: to tell you they won’t be contacting your further or to take action against you, like filing a lawsuit. At any time you receive summons, don’t ever ignore them. If you don’t show up to your case, it will be defaulted and you’ll lose, and a judge can order financial punishments, such as garnished wages or a bank levy.
If you think you’ve been treated unfairly or Luebke Baker & Associates has violated your rights under the FDCPA, you should contact a lawyer right away. You could be entitled to $1,000 per violation. Once you’ve gotten a lawyer, he or she can go through your evidence with you to determine if you have a case.
*The content of this article is not applicable solely to Luebke Baker & Associates, but to any third-party collection agency by which you claim to have been harassed.
**According to customer complaints on the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs websites.