What You Need To Know
Debt becomes overwhelming for a number of reasons. Perhaps you lost your job, or became too ill to work any longer. Maybe your spouse sued you for divorce unexpectedly and most of your income was spent on an attorney.
The debt collector hired to collect on your account doesn’t care about the reasons, however. They just want your money (as well as their commission) and when you are unable to pay, they are not always pleasant about it.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, protects indebted consumers who from being bullied and abused by third-party debt collectors.
Under this consumer protection law, a collection agency may not legally use tactics like the following when attempting to collect a debt:
- Calling before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Maliciously reporting false information to the credit bureaus
- Threatening to have you arrested
- Pretending to be police officers or federal agents
- Telling your friends and family that you owe money
- Making threats they have no intention of following up on, such as garnishing your wages or filing a lawsuit
Company Profile: Tri-Financial
Tri-Financial is a collection agency headquartered in North Tonawanda, New York. It was established in 2007, has a staff of less than 10 employees, and is managed by owner Jon Hummel.
Litigation records archived at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website reveal that Tri-Financial has been accused of violating the FDCPA while trying to collect consumer debts.
Alleged Violations against Tri-Financial
Steven Hebert vs. Tri-Financial et al
On June 1, 2009, Massachusetts resident Steven Hebert learned that Tri-Financial had called his mother regarding a debt he allegedly owed and informed her that they were calling from the "pre-litigation department".
The agency also called him and allegedly left voicemail messages stating that a "claim" had been "documented" against him and that it would be sent for "processing" in the "county of the jurisdiction" in which he was located.
Another message allegedly stated that the "document had been notarized" and sent to the "jurisdiction" for filing.
Mr. Hebert later claimed that Tri-Financial collectors also contacted his sister as well as his mother again, and informed his mother that it would be their last attempt to reach a resolution before "papers were filed."
He responded by hiring a consumer attorney and suing Tri-Financial for the following alleged FDCPA violations:
- Discussing the debt with third parties
- Contacting third parties more than once, without being asked to do so
- Threatening legal action it did not intend to take
- Using false and deceptive means to collect a debt
The matter was later dismissed.
Hire an Attorney
The phone numbers for Tri-Financial are 1-877-268-9286 and 1-716-694-5970. If your phone rings and either number appears on your caller ID, be aware that a debt collector may be trying to collect money from you.
If they call your friends and family and discuss any aspect of your debt with them, hire a consumer attorney to help you defend your rights in court.
You could potentially be awarded $1,000 per FDCPA violation as well as attorney's fees, court costs, and any actual damages, making Tri-Financial’s decision to cross the line an expensive error.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 1:09-cv-10952-DPW from United States District Court, District of Massachusetts
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 Tri-Financial, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.