The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a federal law that was enacted in 1977 to protect consumers from debt collectors who use abusive, unfair, and otherwise unethical means to obtain payment for an outstanding debt. Under the FDCPA, a consumer may:
- Dispute a debt and request no further contact from a collection agency
- Tell the debt collector not to call them at work if such calls are not permitted by the employer
- Request proof that a debt exists and the collector is authorized to request payment
- Be represented by an attorney in a debt resolution case
The Act also places the following restrictions on debt collectors:
- They may not contact consumers at inconvenient times. The FDCPA prohibits contact before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.
- If a debtor has an attorney, the collector must deal exclusively with that attorney regarding the debt.
- They may not pretend to attorneys, members of law enforcement, or government employees.
- Threats, insults, and abusive language are prohibited.
National Recovery Solutions is a collection agency located in Lockport, New York. Established around 2006, it has an estimated 10-20 employees and specializes in collecting delinquent student loans. A review of consumer complaints boards and federal court records maintained by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), reveals allegations of various FDCPA violations.
James A. Mitchem v. National Recovery Solutions, LLC (Case: 1:10-cv-00862, from United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division)
In January 2010, James Mitchem received a message on his office voicemail from a party who identified himself as ‘Sean Hackett’. Mr. Hackett said he was calling about a claim and added, “I need to speak to you on this matter as soon as possible if you wish to resolve this voluntarily. ” A second call indicated that the matter concerned a delinquent account from Chase Bank.
Mr. Mitchem’s office voicemail includes the following notice: “Please be advised that if you are calling concerning a non-[employer] related matter, [Mitchem’s employer] prohibits employees from receiving such calls.” Yet Mr. Hackett continued to call. On February 1, 2010, an employee from the payroll department advised Mr. Mitchem that “Mr. Sean Hackett from National Recovery Solutions” had called and requested a callback from Mitchem.
Embarrassed and alarmed that he was receiving such hiring an attorney with experience in safeguarding consumer rights. Once you have an attorney representing you about the debt, collection agencies are only allowed to contact them, not you. To do otherwise is a direct breach of the FDCPA, and could earn you a compensation of $1000 per incident.
*The content of this article is not applicable solely to National Recovery Solutions, but to any third-party collection agency by which you claim to have been harassed.