Is a debt collection agency contacting you nonstop? You may be stressed and embarrassed, but you’re definitely not alone. According to Forbes magazine, over one-third of Americans have an average of $5,000 worth of debt in collections.
To make matters worse, debt collectors can be ruthless in the pursuit of your money, even though the law orders them to exercise restraint and show courtesy.
Over forty years ago, the US government worried that debt collectors were behind the large increase in personal bankruptcies.
Consequently, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, which granted consumers the right to dispute a debt and order to third-party debt collection agency to stop contacting them.
Debt collectors are also forbidden to use any of the methods below to collect debt payments from you.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
- Fail to identify themselves as debt collectors collecting a debt
- Contact you several times per day, demanding money
- Use profane or obscene language
- Fail or refuse to validate the debt you allegedly owe
- Call at inconvenient times, usually before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Call you at work after you’ve indicated that your boss doesn’t allow such calls.
- Discuss the debt with your friends, coworkers, and neighbors
Alleged Violations against Northstar Location Services*
Although these and similar actions are against the law, some debt collectors persist in doing whatever they believe it takes to collect money.
Northstar Location Services is a collection agency headquartered in Cheektowaga, New York. It was established in 2001 and employs a staff of approximately 250 to 499. A search of the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website suggests that Northstar Location Services had been frequently accused of breaching the FDCPA when collecting money from consumers.
In 2010, a Florida resident started receiving calls from Northstar Location Services debt collectors, who were looking for her ex-boyfriend. Each time she informed them that he could not be reached at that phone number and to stop calling.
The plaintiff alleged that the collection agents used “disparaging and vulgar” language when speaking to her, calling her a “f**king liar” when she said that her ex-boyfriend did not live there, and accusing her of hiding him.
When the calls did not stop, the plaintiff retained a consumer attorney, who filed a complaint that accused Northstar Location Services of violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Continuing to communicate with the plaintiff after having reason to believe that they had incorrect contact information for the plaintiff's ex-boyfriend (15 U.S.C. 1692b)
- Behaving in a harassing and abusive manner while attempting to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. 1692d)
- Using profane and abusive language while attempting to collect a debt (15 U.S.C. 1692d(2))
The matter was later dismissed.
Hire an Attorney
If you receive a call from 1-877-630-6700 or 1-716-817-6770, a debt collector from Northstar Location Services is trying to collect payment on a debt. If they are looking for someone who longer lives at your residence and become verbally abusive when you insist that they have a wrong number, consult a consumer attorney.
You could win statutory damages of up to $1,000 per FDCPA violation as well as court costs and attorney fees, so don’t hesitate to exercise your rights.
The size and nature of your debt have nothing to do with how you should be treated as a human being. If third-party collectors are subjecting you to the type of harassment outlined in the FDCPA, you should consider completing a free case evaluation and filing a claim with the help of an FDCPA attorney.
Winning your claim could mean netting $1000 for each FDCPA violation, along with additional damages, and having an attorney increases the likelihood that you’ll have a successful claim.
Your attorney can aid in gathering evidence, arguing on your behalf, and knowing exactly what is required at each point in the case. In other words, your attorney will be in the best position to help you navigate this complex process and finally get the peace of mind that you deserve.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 6:10-cv-01578-PCF-GJK from United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Northstar Location Services or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.