When financial problems hit, people have trouble paying their debts. Not too long ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that 30 million U.S. consumers currently have debts in collections. If you’re getting collection calls and letters, you may be stressed and worried, but fortunately, there are ways you can protect yourself.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is intended to prevent and curb extreme collection behavior by third-party debt collectors. These agencies are prohibited from using pressure tactics like the following to settle a consumer debt:
- Calling you before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Calling you at work after you’ve told them that your employer won’t let you take such calls
- Falsely claiming to be an attorney or a law enforcement official
- Using profane and obscene language
- Contacting you if the debt collector is aware that you are being represented by an attorney
- Threatening legal action they are not eligible to take or have no intention of taking
Company Profile: Northern Leasing Systems, Inc.
Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. is a debt collection agency located in New York, New York, with a branch office in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was established in 1991, has over 200 employees, and is managed by its President, Jay Cohen. Records on file at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website show that consumers who believed they were being harassed by Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. have sued the agency to assert their rights.
Alleged Violations against Northern Leasing Systems, Inc.
According to PACER, on or about June 3, 2010, Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. sent two collection letters to a South Carolina resident. In each one, the agency advised that the purported delinquency “has been reported to the Credit Bureau as a charge off or collection account and will be reflected on your credit report.” The demand went on to state that the company would be commencing “legal proceedings against you to recover all monies due ….”
The demands involved two separate South Carolina businesses, one of which the plaintiff was employed with over 10 years previously while the other was an LLC that he had been part of in 1998. Both businesses had ceased operation in 1998 and 1999 respectively, and the South Carolina statute of limitations was three years.
Another demand letter arrived the following December. Feeling harassed by Northern Leasing Systems, Inc., the plaintiff hired a consumer attorney and sued the agency for the following alleged FDCPA violations:
- Using intimidating and abusive language in the letters
- Engaging in abusive and harassing conduct
- Failing to send a validation notice within five days of the original demands
- Using false, deceptive or misleading means to collect a debt
- Threatening legal action that could not be taken
The matter was later dismissed.
Hire an FDCPA Attorney
The phone numbers for Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. are:
If your phone rings and either number shows up on your caller ID, you are being called by Northern Leasing Systems, Inc.. If they demand that you make payments on a debt that is long out of statute, hire a consumer attorney. If you file a claim against Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. and the court rules in your favor, you could potentially be awarded $1,000 per violation as well as attorney’s fees, court costs, and any actual damages. Standing up for yourself could put the company in debt to you at the end.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is Case 1:11-cv-00184-ARR-JMA from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York at Brooklyn.
Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.