Debt collectors have a single ambition: to make you pay as quickly as possible. To accomplish this goal, their approach can be ruthless to be point of being abusive. It is therefore important that you understand your rights, as well as how to make any harassment stop.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, requires third-party debt collectors to be professional when communicating with consumers, so any abusive behavior is against the law. Below are some actions that can cost a collection agency its license.
- Calling at all hours of the day and night
- Swearing, raising their voice, and using obscene language
- Making threats they cannot legally carry out or have no intention of carrying out
- Demanding outrageous amounts that exceed the amount of the original debt
- Calling at inconvenient times, such as before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Discussing the debt with third parties except you, your spouse, or your attorney
Company Profile: Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc.
If you are being called by Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc. information about the company is below.
Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc. is a collection agency located in Salem, New Hampshire. It was established in 1999, has 95 employees, and is managed by its owner, Michael Cook. According to records on file at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website, people who believed they were being harassed by Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc. chose to fight back in court.
Alleged Violations against Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc.
According to PACER, in or around February 2013, Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc. began calling a Florida resident about an alleged debt. He later claimed that the agency used an automated dialer to call his cell phone repeatedly, sometimes several times a day, and even calling his mother’s phone. When he did speak to the collectors, they allegedly told him that nonpayment of the debt would send him to prison.
Feeling harassed by Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc., he hired a consumer attorney and sued the company for allegedly violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Using oppressive, harassing, or abusive means to collect a debt
- Using unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt
- Using false, deceptive, and misleading means to collect a debt
The matter was later settled.
Hire an FDCPA Attorney
The phone numbers for this collection agency are:
If either one shows up on your caller ID when the phone rings, it means that you are being called by Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc.. If they threaten you with imprisonment if you don’t pay and call you with harassing frequency, you should hire a consumer attorney. If you decide to file a claim against Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc., you could potentially win $1,000 per violation as well as attorney's fees, court costs, and any actual damages. Never back down from a ruthless debt collector: The law is on your side.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is Case 8:14-cv-00491-JDW-TBM from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa 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 Stephens & Michaels Associates, Inc., or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.