Is Southwest Collection Services calling you? Here's what you need to know.
If you encounter financial hardship and miss payments on your credit cards, student loans, or medical bills, eventually a debt collector will be in touch. Although being asked for money when you’re already experiencing difficulties is stressful, it’s even worse if the collector is rude, demeaning, and intrusive. Fortunately, you have rights even if you do owe money, and do not have to tolerate mistreatment.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which was passed in 1977 to protect indebted consumers from harassment by third-party debt collectors, grants you certain protections. Collection agencies may contact you about a debt but they may not use pressure tactics like the following to get you to pay.
- Call before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m., in your time zone
- Use profane and obscene language
- Threaten physical violence
- Pretend to be police officers
- Call you at work if they know or have reason to know what such calls are not allowed
- Discuss the debt with anyone but you, your spouse, or your attorney
- Threaten to have you arrested or garnish your wages
Company Profile: Southwest Collection Services
Southwest Collection Services is a third-party collection agency located in Lafayette, Louisiana. It was established in 2006, has fewer than 10 employees, and is managed by owner Tara Grossie. Records archived at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website indicates that Southwest Collection Services has been a defendant in lawsuits that accuse the company of FDCPA violations.
Alleged Violations against Southwest Collection Services
According to PACER, in or around late 2009, a Georgia resident received calls and letters from Southwest Collection Services about an alleged debt. The plaintiff later asserted that the first letter demanded payment within 15 days, which overshadowed his right to dispute under the FDCPA. He also accused Southwest Collection Services of leaving phone messages that did not meaningfully disclose the caller’s identity.
When the collection calls continued, the plaintiff hired a consumer attorney and sued Southwest Collection Services for allegedly violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Threatening legal actions they had no intention of taking
- Failing to identify themselves as debt collectors in all communications
- Using false, deceptive and misleading means to collect a debt
The matter was later dismissed.
Hire a Creditor Harassment Attorney
The phone numbers for Southwest Collection Services are 1-877-981-4542 and 1-337-981-4542. If you see either number on your caller ID, be aware that a collection agency is calling. If they leave voice messages that do not meaningfully disclose the caller’s identity or purpose, hire a consumer attorney who can deal with the agency on your behalf and help you pursue legal action.
Southwest Collection Services could be ordered to pay you $1,000 per FDCPA violation as well as attorney's fees, court costs, and any actual damages. When debt collectors cross the line, they could end up owing you money instead.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 1:10-cv-00182-TCB from United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta 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 Southwest Collection Services, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.