People who have fallen behind in paying their bills may end up hearing from a collection agency, which will try to get them to repay the debt. While these collectors enjoy a certain degree of latitude, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates their conduct, making certain actions illegal.
The FDCPA prevents debt collectors from engaging in conduct such as the following:
- Contacting anyone not authorized to know about the debt, such as your friends, relatives, or employer
- Threatening to have you arrested or garnish your wages to intimidate you into paying
- Calling you repeatedly and unreasonable times or at work (when you’ve already advised the collector that your employer does not allow such calls)
- Using abusive or threatening language
- Claiming to be an attorney or law enforcement officer
Alleged Violations against National Credit Solutions*
Although such tactics are against the law, many debt collectors use them to scare money out of people who owe a debt.
National Credit Solutions is a collection agency located in McKinney, Texas. According to Manta.com, it was established in 2007 and has an employee count that varies between 20 and 49. Although it advertises itself on the company website as a credit repair service, National Credit Solutions is probably better known for its collections activities, which have landed the company in federal court many times for alleged FDCPA violations.
Alexander Gonzalez v. National Credit Solutions, LLC
According to PACER (public access to court electronic documents), in 2009 a Connecticut resident started getting phone calls from National Credit Solutions (NCS) regarding an alleged debt owed to Columbia House. The plaintiff had an account with Columbia House at one time, but closed it with a zero balance. He told the NCS that no debt existed and to stop contacting him.
The calls allegedly continued, until in August 2010 the plaintiff advised NCS in writing that he disputed the debt and wanted no further contact. According to the court paperwork (viewable at the Public Access to Court Electronic Records / PACER website) NCS debt collectors called him at least twice a day from January to September 2011. On several occasions, the agents threatened to report the disputed debt to the credit reporting agencies, and when they finally did so, they did not report it as disputed.
The plaintiff’s attorney accused National Credit Solutions of the following FDCPA violations:
- Continuing to contact the plaintiff after being requested to stop
- Calling him repetitively
- Causing his phone to ring continuously with the intent to harass him
- Using misleading and deceptive tactics to collect an alleged debt
- Falsely representing the character, amount, or legal status of the debt
- Failing to report the debt as disputed to the credit reporting agencies,
A judgement was entered in favor of the plaintiff.
What to do if you get ‘the call’
If you receive a call from 1-214-491-6163, someone from National Credit Solutions is trying to contact you about an alleged debt. Under the FDCPA, you have the right to tell them to stop calling: once you send them a cease and desist letter, they are prohibited from further communications, except to inform you that they are stopping collection efforts or seeking legal redress. If they break the law while dealing with you, document the violation(s) and see an attorney to help you protect your rights. Once you have legal representation, the law says that debt collectors must stop contacting you. You may also be eligible for a compensation of $1000 per FDCPA violation, making them literally pay for harassing you.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 3:11-cv-01683-MPS, from United States District Court, District of Connecticut.
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 Credit Solutions or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.