Is United Collection Bureau calling you? Here's what you need to know.
When you’re in serious debt, hearing the phone ring can make you anxious, sweaty, and stressed. Is it that collection agency again? The one with the hostile and aggressive agents who threaten to confront you at your workplace, talk to your neighbors, and ruin your credit forever? These calls are so upsetting that you’re having trouble sleeping at night. Is there anything to make them stop?
Actually, there is.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a consumer protection law that was passed in 1977 to regulate the activities of third-party debt collectors. It applies to the collection of mortgages, credit card balances, student loans, medical bills, and other debts incurred primarily for personal, family, or household use.
As a debtor under the FDCPA, you are allowed to dispute a debt, order a collection agency to stop contacting you, and hire an attorney to represent you in the matter. Debt collectors are permitted to contact you about any debt you allegedly owe, but the following practices are illegal while collecting or attempting to collect a debt.
- Calling you outside of certain hours (usually before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. your time)
- Talking to anyone about the debt except you, your spouse, your attorney, or any co-signers
- Threatening legal action they cannot take or have no intention of taking, such as having you arrested
- Pretending to be anyone except a debt collector looking to collect a debt
- Refusing or failing to validate a debt and confirm their right to collect it
- Swearing and yelling at you
Not all debt collectors will abide by such restrictions. Some will do anything it takes to get your money.
United Collection Bureau is a Toledo, Ohio-based collection agency that was established in 1959 and has an employee count of 100 to 249. It serves creditors across a variety of industries: credit card debt, student loans, and medical bills. Consumer complaint boards and records retained by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) contain accusations from consumers that United Collection Bureau doesn’t always keep the FDCPA in mind when collecting a debt.
Jenna & Brian Rushing v. United Collection Bureau
In or around late 2009 and early 2010 Illinois residents Jenna and Brian Rushing began receiving calls from United Collection Bureau agents about an alleged debt. The Rushings later claimed that the debt collectors harassed them by telephone, making as many as 10 collection calls in a single day and threatening to file a lawsuit. They also alleged that United Collection Bureau called from an ‘unknown’ number and failed to send them a debt validation letter.
The Rushings contacted a consumer attorney and accused the agency of violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Calling at times and places known to be inconvenient (§1692c(a)(1))
- Engaging in conduct that harassed and abused the Rushings (§1692d)
- Causing a phone to ring continuously and repeatedly (§1692d(5))
- Failing to properly identify itself as a debt collector when contacting the Rushings (§1692d(6))
- Misrepresenting the alleged debt (§1692e(2))
- Threatening to take action that cannot legally be taken or is not intended to be taken (§1692e(5))
- Engaging in deceptive means to attempt to collect a debt §1692e(10)
- Failing to provide appropriate notice of the debt within 5 days after the initial communication (§1692e(10))
The matter was later dismissed.
If you receive a call that displays the number 1-866-209-0622 on your caller ID, United Collection Bureau is trying to contact you. If the collectors call you several times per day from an unknown number, threaten a lawsuit that never transpires, and / or fail to send a debt validation letter, contact a consumer attorney.
Your attorney will deal with the agency on your behalf and, if necessary, help you take them to court for violating the FDCPA. When you feel that your rights have been violated, don’t hesitate to get good legal advice.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 3:10-cv-00212-JPG-DGW, from United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis 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 United Collection Bureau, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.