Can a debt collector call your friends and family when they know how to reach you directly? Threaten to serve court papers on you that very afternoon if you don’t pay a medical debt now? Demand that you pay a debt discharged in an earlier bankruptcy?
The answer to these questions is: not legally.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, was passed in 1977 to protect debtors from being manipulated and bullied by debt collectors. It prohibits collection agencies from using deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable means to collect a debt and gives consumers the right to sue a company that subjects them to abuses like the following:
- Trying to collect when you refuse to pay
- Leaving a voice mail message that doesn’t identify them as a debt collector
- Failing to report your dispute to the credit bureaus
- Calling anyone except you, your spouse, or attorney about the debt
- Using an autodialer to call you constantly
- Calling you rude and abusive names
Company Profile: US Asset Management, Inc.
If you are being called by US Asset Management, Inc., a general agency overview is presented below.
US Asset Management, Inc., which also does business as Collecto, Inc. and Collection Company of America, is a debt collection agency located in Norwell, Massachusetts. It opened for business in 1991, has 852 employees on staff, and is managed by its President & CEO, Paul Leary.
It is a collection agency for the Department of Education, MA Department of Revenue, and public and privately owned businesses. Legal records at the PACER website reveal that consumers who felt they were being harassed by US Asset Management, Inc. challenged the company to prove its claims.
Alleged Violations against US Asset Management, Inc.
According to PACER, in or around May 2008, US Asset Management, Inc. under the name of Collecto, Inc., sent a collection letter to a Texas couple, although the cell phone debt in question was allegedly time-barred.
The following November, the agency allegedly sent automated calls to the consumers, warning that they would be “served” if the debt wasn’t paid within 24 hours.
When they called the agency, they were allegedly told that failing to pay a cell phone debt was a federal offense and they had to pay to avoid being “served.”
Feeling harassed by US Asset Management, Inc., the couple hired legal counsel and sued the agency for violating their rights by:
- Using false, deceptive, and misleading means to collect a debt
- Misrepresenting the legal status of the debt
- Using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt
The judge later ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
Hire a Consumer Lawyer
The phone numbers for US Asset Management, Inc. are:
Seeing them on your caller ID is confirmation that US Asset Management, Inc. is calling. If they claim that you have committed a crime by not paying your debt and threaten legal actions they have no intention of taking, hire a consumer lawyer and file a claim against US Asset Management, Inc.
If your claim succeeds, you could receive $1,000 per violation plus court costs and attorney fees, so call their bluff and get the compensation you deserve.
Case taken from PACER (pacer.gov). File number is Case 3:09-cv-02414-B from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas 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 US Asset Management, Inc., or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.