Is Rancho Credit Management calling you? Here's what you need to know
Debt collectors inspire equal amounts of annoyance and fear. No one appreciates getting collection calls when they are experiencing financial difficulties, but when certain collection agencies use heavy-handed tactics to obtain payments, the frustration turns to anxiety and dread.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The law does dictate that debt collectors may not use collection methods that a reasonable person would find hostile or harassing. In September 1977 the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was enacted to protect consumers from unethical collection methods. Activities like the following are now illegal when committed while collecting or attempting to collect a debt.
- Cursing, yelling, and slamming down the phone
- Calling outside of the 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. window in the consumer’s time zone
- Calling someone at work when they know or have reason to know that the workplace does not allow non-business calls
- Contacting someone who is represented by an attorney with regards to the debt
- Calling and hanging up without leaving a message identifying the company and their purpose
- Discussing the debt with uninvolved third parties
- Threatening action that they cannot legally take or have no intention of taking
- Ignoring a cease communications notice
Not every debt collector limits themselves to FDCPA-approved conduct, however. Rancho Credit Management, also known as Rancho Equities, is a debt collection agency located in Encinitas, California. It was established in 1997 and employs a staff of approximately 20 to 49. This particular company apparently deals mainly with out of statute debt. A search of records retained by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) turns up dozens of instances of Rancho Credit Management appearing in court to defend charges of illegal debt collection practices.
Alleged FDCPA Violations
On or around the 2009-2010 time frame, a California resident received multiple calls from Rancho Credit Management regarding an old debt she allegedly owed. She later claimed that on several occasions, the debt collectors identified themselves as representatives of a credit restoration company.
They allegedly offered to clean up her credit if she paid the balance, even though the debt was so old it no longer appeared on her credit report. She disputed the debt and advised Rancho Credit Management that she had retained an attorney, but representatives allegedly continued to contact her directly. She also complained that a debt collector had spoken to her mother and asked if a recently sent collection letter had been received.
The complaint filed with the US District Court accused Rancho Credit Management of the following FDCPA violations:
- Falsely representing itself as a credit restoration service instead of a debt collector seeking to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. § 1692e(10))
- Offering to clean up her credit report if she paid the debt, when the debt was no longer being reported (15 U.S.C. § 1692e(8))
- Overshadowing the required disclosures during the 30-day dispute period (15 U.S.C. § 1692g(b))
- Directly contacting someone represented by an attorney in the matter (15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(2))
- Discussing the debt with an uninvolved third party (15 U.S.C. § 1692b and (c)(b))
The matter was later dismissed.
If the number 1-760-943-9308 shows up on your caller ID, someone from Rancho Credit Management is trying to contact you to collect a delinquent debt. If they claim to be representing a credit repair company and the debt they are attempting to collect is out of statute, contact a consumer attorney.
Such deceptive and unethical approaches are illegal under the FDCPA, and if you take the agency to court, you could win statutory damages of $1,000 per violation plus actual damages, court fees, and attorney costs. You have rights as a consumer, and disregarding them is an expensive mistake for any debt collector.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 2:10-cv-03708-SVW-RZ , from United States District Court, Central District of California, Eastern 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 Rancho Credit Management, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.