The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) governs debt collection methods. It prohibits collection agents from using deceptive, unfair, or abusive methods to convince you to pay a debt. It also provides you with certain rights that protect you from predatory or hostile tactics.
Any debt collector who claims that you owe payment on a debt is legally required to provide you with key information about the obligation. That information includes:
- The name of the creditor you supposedly owe money to
- The amount you owe
- How to seek verification of the debt or dispute it entirely
Generally speaking, the FDCPA does not allow debt collectors to contact you at an unusual or inconvenient time, such as early in the morning and late at night. They also cannot call you at work if you tell them that your employer does not allow such calls. Should you retain an attorney to represent you about the alleged debt, collectors may only contact the attorney after you advise them that you have acquired legal representation.
Under the FDCPA, you are allowed to request in writing that the debt collector stop contacting you. If they persist, you can sue them.
Alleged Violations against National Check Processing LLC*
National Check Processing LLC is located in Jacksonville, Florida. Incorporated circa 2009, it specializes in collecting delinquent payday loans and has been accused of repeatedly violating FDCPA regulations. Commonly alleged activities include calling the consumer’s relatives and friends about the debt, threatening to have the debtor arrested, and using abusive language. National Check Processing LLC has also been a defendant in several court cases, many of which are viewable on the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system website.
In May 2010, a National Check Processing representative attempted to call the plaintiff and spoke to his girlfriend instead. According to the court paperwork, the agent disclosed details of an alleged debt to the plaintiff’s girlfriend, who was not authorized to know about it.
A week later, a representative spoke to the plaintiff, but did not identify themselves as a debt collector. They allegedly claimed to be a private investigator calling about fraud and bad check charges against him. The agent threatened to have the plaintiff arrested if an alleged debt was not paid by a certain time.
Two days later, a representative called the plaintiff’s mother and told her that her son was the subject of a legal investigation. His girlfriend also received a call from a representative who said they were calling from the “fraud and worthless check division.”
The plaintiff retained an attorney and filed suit. National Check Processing LLC was accused of the following FDCPA violations.
- Communicating with a third party about the alleged debt
- Failure to identify itself as a debt collector
- Falsely represented the debt as ‘check fraud’
- Threatening action that it could not legally take
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt
A judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiff.
What to do if you get ‘the call’
If you receive a call from 904-301-9200 or 904-374-7445, a National Check Processing representative is trying to contact you about a debt you allegedly owe. If the agent tries to intimidate you and refuses to provide you with written proof that they are authorized to collect the debt, contact an attorney. The FDCPA bars collection agencies from threatening consumers or refusing to prove the debt and you can be compensated up to $1000 per violation. Your attorney will help you safeguard your rights and bring the unwanted communications to an end.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 2:10-cv-01164-MJP, from United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Seattle.
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 National Check Processing LLC or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.