Is Northland Group Inc calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Anyone can find themselves suddenly beset by money problems. Illness, injury, or a personal crisis such as divorce all have a debilitating effect on income, so when any (or all) of them strike, the results can be catastrophic.
Bills go unpaid, the accounts are turned over to a third-party collection agency or sold to a junk debt buyer, and the calls and letters from debt collectors begin.
Before the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was passed in 1977 to protect consumers from ruthless and predatory debt collectors, tactics like the following were routine:
- Calling consumers at all hours, and even at their workplace
- Threatening to have the person arrested or sent to jail if they did not pay
- Swearing, yelling, and using profanities
- Nonstop calling with the intention of harassing the consumer
- Pretending to be police officers or federal agents
- Telling a consumer’s friends, co-workers, and neighbors that a debt is owed
Now all of these activities are illegal, and can be punished with a heavy fine of $1,000 per violation. Consumers also have the right to dispute the debt and tell the collector not to contact them again. But many debt collectors all over the country persist in using prohibited tactics to collect debts, believing that the consumer will be too intimidated to report them.
Alleged Violations against Northland Group Inc*
Established in 1985, Northland Group Inc is a debt collection agency located in Minneapolis, MN. With an employee count that ranges between 100 and 249 (according to the company’s profile on Manta.com) Northland Group Inc is one of the area’s larger debt collectors. It settles consumer debts all over the country. Records archived by the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website turn up several cases involving this particular company and allegations of FDCPA violations.
On or around September 9, 2008, a representative of Northland Group, Inc called the father of a Texas resident, who allegedly owed a personal debt. The father of the plaintiff indicated that his son did not live there and could not be reached at that number.
The plaintiff called Northland Group, Inc later that day. During this conversation, he refused to grant permission for the agency to discuss the debt with his father. Despite this prohibition, debt collectors allegedly called the father of the plaintiff two more times. During the latter conversation the representative allegedly asked him if he had Power of Attorney over his son, and the plaintiff's father said no.
Through his attorney, the plaintiff accused Northland Group, Inc of violating:
- 15 U.S.C. § 1692c by contacting a third party about the debt
- 15 U.S.C. § 1692f by using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt
- 15 U.S.C. § 1692e by misrepresenting the debt
The matter was later dismissed.
The phone number for Northland Group Inc is 1-800-800- 8191, so if it appears on your caller ID, be warned that a debt collector is trying to contact you about settling a debt. If they engage in unethical collection practices, such as misrepresenting the debt or discussing its particulars with uninvolved third parties, contact a consumer attorney right away. You could receive $1,000 per violation in statutory damages as well as actual damages, court costs, and attorney fees.
Don’t hesitate to act when your rights are disregarded: even if you owe money, you’re entitled to fair treatment, and some agencies need that reminder.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 4:08-cv-00644-A from United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth 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 Northland Group Inc or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.