Is Professional Credit Management, Inc calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
It seems that most adult Americans owe some kind of debt nowadays: medical bills, credit card balances, car and mortgage payments, and student loans.
Good money management and careful budgeting can keep it from getting out of hand, but when a major financial setback occurs, such as a job loss or lengthy illness, financial obligations can spiral out of control.
Once regular payments become impossible, creditors frequently turn the accounts over to third-party debt collectors, whose tenacity can make a bad situation even worse.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) places certain limitations on what a third-party debt collector can say or do during the process of collecting or attempting to collect a debt. Thanks to this law, which was passed in 1977 as a consumer protection measure, the following tactics are illegal:
- Failing to identify themselves as debt collectors trying to collect a debt
- Cursing, yelling, and making threats
- Calling multiple times per day, manually or using an autodialer
- Calling at inconvenient times, namely before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in the consumer’s time zone
- Calling someone at work after being told that such calls are prohibited by the employer
- Threatening legal actions they cannot take or have no intention of taking, such as having the person imprisoned or garnishing their wages
- Telling uninvolved third parties that the person they are trying to contact owes a debt
Some debt collectors appear to deliberately disregard the FDCPA. Professional Credit Management, Inc., is a collection agency located in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Established in 1980, it is a smaller company with an employee count of less than 10. According to the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system, Professional Credit Management, Inc. has been sued by consumers who felt that their rights were being violated during debt collection attempts.
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Alleged FDCPA Violations
In July 2014 a resident of Springdale, Arkansas, started receiving calls from Professional Credit Management, Inc. These calls were regarding a personal debt allegedly owed by her sister.
She repeatedly told the collection agents that her sister could not be reached at that number and to stop contacting her. When the calls allegedly continued, she became frustrated and distressed and contacted a consumer attorney.
The complaint she filed via her attorney accused Professional Credit Management, Inc. of the following FDCPA violations:
- Contacting her about her sister’s debt on numerous occasions without being asked to do so (15 U.S.C. § 1692b(3))
- Engaging in harassing, oppressive behavior while trying to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692d)
- Causing the phone to ring repeatedly and engaging her in conversations that she found upsetting (15 U.S.C. §1692d(5))
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692f)
Her attorney added that many of these actions also violated the Arkansas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The matter was later settled.
The phone number for Professional Credit Management, Inc. is 1-870-425-7191. If any of their debt collectors start calling you about someone else’s delinquent debt and refuse or fail to stop at your request, see a consumer attorney. The FDCPA requires third-party debt collectors to cease all direct contact with someone who has retained an attorney in the matter, and if they persist, you can take them to court.
Such tactics are illegal when committed during attempts to collect a debt, and you could receive compensation of $1,000 per violation, as well as court costs and attorney fees.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 5:14-cv-05346-TLB, from United States District Court, Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
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 Professional Credit Management, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.