Hard times can befall anyone. Once you suffer a financial setback like job loss or illness, you can reach the point where you are unable to pay your debts. Sometimes creditors will work with you, but if it looks like you will not be able to pay the accounts off, they may assign your file to a third-party collection agency. Debt collectors have a reputation for being ruthless, but they take things too far with you, don’t forget that the law protects you against abusive collection practices.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a consumer protection law that regulates how third-party collection agencies can pursue a consumer debt. Since 1977, when the law was enacted, tactics like the following have been illegal.
- Cursing and calling you names
- Calling you at inconvenient times and places
- Threatening action they are not in a position to legally take, such as having you arrested or jailed for nonpayment
- Contacting you if the debt collector is aware that you are being represented by an attorney
- Calling you at an inconvenient time, such as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Telling you that you can be arrested and sent to jail if you don’t pay
Company Profile: Northwest Financial Services
If you are being called by Northwest Financial Services, information about the company is below.
Northwest Financial Services, which also does business as Midwestern Health Management, Inc., is a debt collection company located in St. Joseph, Missouri. It was established in 1983, has 20 to 49 employees, and is managed by Debbie O’Neal. According to the corporate website, it is a member of the National Healthcare Collectors Association and Missouri Collectors Association. Litigation records viewable at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website confirm that consumers who felt they were being harassed by Northwest Financial Services sought legal counsel to bring the unwanted communications to an end.
Alleged Violations against Northwest Financial Services
According to PACER, on or about September 18,2012, a Northwest Financial Services collector who identified herself as Lauren contacted two Missouri residents directly even after the the plaintiffs notified the agency of their representation by an attorney. When reminded of this fact, ‘Lauren’ allegedly replied, “It doesn't matter" and proceeded to threaten one plaintiff with calls to his workplace.
Feeling harassed by Northwest Financial Services, the plaintiffs hired a consumer attorney and sued the company for allegedly violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Contacting them despite awareness that they had retained an attorney
- Failing to validate the debt
- Threatening actions it could not legally take
- Using false, deceptive and misleading means to collect a debt
- Using harassing and oppressive means to collect a debt
If you believe your rights have been violated by Northwest Financial Services, you may want to speak with an FDCPA attorney. Here is a list of potential violations a third-party debt collector may do.
The matter was later dismissed.
Hire an FDCPA Attorney
The phone number for this debt collection agency is 1-816-364-4858. If it appears on your caller ID in response to an incoming call, it means that you are being called by Northwest Financial Services. If they keep calling you directly even after you have advised them that you retained legal counsel regarding the debt, hire a consumer attorney immediately.
A collection agency cannot legally contact you directly after an attorney gets involved, so if you file a successful claim against Northwest Financial Services, you could win $1,000 per FDCPA violation in addition to related legal costs. Owing money does not eliminate your right to be treated with dignity during the collection process, a fact that many collection agencies discover at their own expense.
Northwest Financial Services is one of thousands of third-party debt collectors across the United States.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is Case 5:13-cv-06030-HFS from the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
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 Northwest Financial Services, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.