Is Stellar Recovery calling you? Here’s what you need to know.
The phone keeps ringing, and you know from past experience that it’s a debt collection agency. Ignoring them is not really an option any more, because they’re now calling you at work and contacting your friends and relatives, but you really don’t have the means to pay them. Is there anything you can do to stop the constant calls and harassment?
In September 1977 a new law was enacted to protect consumers from unfair and unethical debt collection practices. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, granted consumers the right to dispute a debt and tell a third-party debt collector to stop calling them. It also placed restrictions on what debt collectors could say and do while collecting a debt, making practices like the following illegal:
- Calling you at all hours
- Using abusive and/or obscene language
- Keeping contacting you even after you dispute a debt
- Calling you at work if your boss won’t let you take such calls
- Talk about the debt you owe to your friends and family
- Claim to be law enforcement officials who will arrest you if you don’t pay.
A lot of debt collectors persist in breaking the law, however.
The fact that these tactics are against the law does not stop certain debt collectors from employing them.
Stellar Recovery Inc is a collection agency based in Kalispell, Montana. It was established in 2009, has a staff count of under 100, and also operates out of Jacksonville, Florida. Stellar Recovery Inc purchases debt from banks and other financial institutions as well as telecommunications companies for less than what is actually owed, and proceeds to profit by collecting the entire debt.
A search of the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website reveals that this company had been often accused of breaching the FDCPA.
Sometime before 2011, Colorado resident Gordon Howard allegedly incurred a financial obligation owed to Comcast. When this account went into default, Comcast sold or otherwise assigned the debt to Stellar Recovery Inc for collection.
During communications with debt collectors from the agency, Mr. Howard disputed the account and requested no further communications from Stellar Recovery Inc.
When the contact continued, he retained a consumer attorney and proceeded to file a complaint against the agency. This complaint alleged that Stellar Recovery Inc violated the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Failure to advise the credit agencies that the debt was in dispute (§ 1692e(8))
- Using deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect the debt (§ 1692e(10))
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt (§ 1692f)
The matter was later settled.
If a call from 1-866-552-1377, 1-406-755-9522 or 1-904-438-2500 shows up on your caller ID, a debt collector from Stellar Recovery Inc is trying to contact you about a debt you allegedly owe. If they demand an amount not authorized by your original agreement with the creditor, or keep calling you even after you have disputed the debt, contact a consumer attorney.
Actions like these are illegal under the FDCPA and an experienced attorney will both protect your rights and help you sue the agency that violated them.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 1:12-cv-01207-RPM-BNB from United States District Court, District of Colorado
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 Stellar Recovery Inc, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.