Is Universal Fidelity LP calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Being in debt is incredibly stressful on a physical, psychological, and emotional level. A lot of times, the money problems were not directly your fault. Perhaps you lost a job, became too ill to work, or your marriage failed and you now have massive legal bills on top of everything else. When debt collectors start calling and hounding you to pay, personal bankruptcy starts looking attractive.
The reality is that debt collectors are not legally allowed to push you to that point. A consumer protection law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits them from using unethical means to collect or attempt to collect a debt. If a debt collector has done any of the following to you, they have broken the law.
- Called you from an unknown number and/or left messages that did not identify their company or their purpose
- Swearing at you and calling you names like deadbeat, etc
- Calling you all hours of the day and night
- Telling you that you can be arrested if you do not pay
- Calling you at work when you’ve already told them that your boss doesn’t allow you to take personal calls
The FDCPA gives you the right to tell them to stop contacting you, but not all debt collectors care about the law. They do whatever they feel it takes to get your money.
Universal Fidelity LP is a debt collector situated in Houston, Texas. It was established in 1991 and employs a staff of approximately 100 to 249. It collects consumer debt all over the US and proclaims on the company website that company clients include Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and educational institutions.
A search of the court records retained by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) turns up multiple instances of consumers taking Universal Fidelity LP to court for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The Better Business Bureau website also indicates that there have been 914 complaints against the agency in the last three years.
Dennis Green v. United Fidelity LP et al
According to PACER, on or about May 6, 2013, Universal Fidelity LP sent a letter to Wisconsin resident Dennis Green about an alleged debt to a company called the Bradford Exchange. The letter included a statement advising Mr. Green to contact the original creditor if there was a problem with the account that needed to be resolved.
Over a month later, Mr. Green received another letter regarding the alleged debt. It was on letterhead purporting to be from: John Lee Jackson ATTORNEY ON RETAINER FOR UNIVERSAL FIDELITY, LP, and contained the facsimile signature of “P. Lyons.” Later investigation revealed that “P. Lyons” was not the name of an attorney affiliated with Universal Fidelity, John Lee Jackson or any registered attorney in Texas.
A third letter arrived in October, also on John Lee Jackson’s letterhead. Mr. Jackson was now identified as “Outside Attorney for Universal Fidelity, LP.” The letter included the text: WISCONSIN RESIDENTS: THIS COLLECTION AGENCY IS LICENSED BY THE DIVISION OF BANKING, P.O. BOX 7876, MADISON, WI 53707. A search of Wisconsin’s Division of Banking website suggested that Mr. Jackson was not licensed by the Division of Banking at the time the letter was sent to Mr. Green.
Mr. Green hired a consumer attorney and launched a class action suit against Universal Fidelity LP and John Lee Jackson, claiming that the FDCPA had been violated in the following ways:
- Directing disputes to someone other than the debt collector (15 U.S.C. § 1692g)
- Making false statements that “P. Lyons” was an attorney representing Universal Fidelity LP (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e and 1692e(10))
- Implying that attorney John Lee Jackson was licensed by the Division of Banking for the State of Wisconsin (15 U.S.C. § 1692e, e(1) and e(9)”
The matter was later settled.
If the numbers 1-800-580-8887 or 1-281-647-4100 appear on your caller ID, Universal Fidelity LP is trying to collect a debt from you. If they make false statements regarding the debt and do not appear to be licensed to collect in your state, contact a consumer attorney.
You could win $1,000 per violation of the FDCPA, as well as actual damages, court costs, and attorney fees. A good consumer attorney will be your advocate in bringing the stress and harassment to an end.
*The content of this article is not applicable solely to Universal Fidelity LP, but to any third-party collection agency by which you claim to have been harassed.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 2:13-cv-01119-LA, from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 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 Universal Fidelity LP, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.