Is Vandenberg Chase & Associates calling you? Here's what you need to know.
Being constantly short of money and falling behind on your regular financial obligations is not a pleasant experience. Debt problems can spiral out of control remarkably fast, and once you miss a certain number of payments your accounts will probably be turned over to third party collection agencies, which will make a difficult financial situation all the more stressful.
Fortunately, you have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. This federal consumer protection law lays out a specific set of rules that third-party debt collectors must follow when trying to collect a debt from you. Under the FDCPA, which was passed in 1977 after rampant abuse by debt collectors was causing personal bankruptcies to increase, the following actions are illegal when committed while collecting or attempting to collect a debt:
- Calling you outside of the hours between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. your time
- Making calls from an ‘unknown’ number and leaving messages that do not identify them as debt collectors
- Threatening legal action they cannot take or have no intention of taking
- Discussing your debt with your friends and family
- Contacting you after you have formally requested that they stop
- Calling you at work after you tell them that the workplace doesn’t allow such calls
- Swearing, yelling, and calling you names
Some debt collectors are so intent on getting your money that they let nothing stop them, not even the law.
Vandenberg Chase & Associates is a debt collection agency located in Atlanta, Georgia. It was established in 2008 and has an employee count on 100 to 249. A review of consumer complaints forums and records archived at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website suggest that Vandenberg Chase & Associates has been accused of routinely violating the FDCPA while trying to collect debts.
April Desso v. Vandenberg Chase & Associates
In mid-December 2010 Connecticut resident April Desso began getting calls from Vandenberg Chase & Associates regarding a debt she owed to Cardinal Management, LLC. She retained a consumer attorney and advised a collection agent named Ms. Sims of that fact when the latter called her at work. Ms. Sims, upon receiving the attorney’s contact information, allegedly yelled that it was the attorney’s responsibility to call Vandenberg Chase & Associates, not the other way around.
Ms. Sims allegedly also told Ms. Dresso that she would be subpoenaed at work. When Ms. Dresso insisted that she wanted no workplace communications, the debt collectors allegedly replied that Vandenberg Chase & Associates was allowed to contact her there because she had provided that number on the application form that created the original debt.
Ms. Dresso later claimed that messages were also left on her voicemail that did not identify the company or the fact that the communication was from a debt collector.
She and her attorney filed a complaint with the US District Court accusing Vandenberg Chase & Associates of violating the FDCPA, Connecticut Creditor Collection Practices Act (CCCPA), Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.
In February 2012 a judgement was entered in favor of April Dresso, with Vandenberg Chase & Associates being ordered to pay $1,000 for FDCPA statutory damages, $1,000 for CCPA statutory damages, $5,000 actual damages, $10,000 for CUTPA punitive damages, attorneys fees and costs of $6,286.11, and sanctions in the total amount of $299,000.00 through and including October 1, 2013, for a total judgment of $322,286.11.
The phone number for Vandenberg Chase & Associates is 1-404-249-1099. If it appears on your caller ID, Vandenberg Chase & Associates is calling you about a debt. If the collection agent uses rude, demeaning language, calls you at work after learning that such calls are not allowed by your boss, or threatens legal action that never transpires, retain a consumer attorney who will help you file a complaint.
Bullying consumers who owe a debt is illegal under the FDCPA and many state laws too, and Vandenberg Chase & Associates could end up being forced to pay you instead.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 3:11-cv-00292-JBA, from United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
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 (Vandenberg Chase & Associates, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.