Section 809 of the FDCPA http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf requires 3rd-party debt collectors to give debtors written notice of debt (the key word is *shall*) :
"§ 809. Validation of debts
(a) Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing?
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
(5) a statement that, upon the consumer?s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor."
A Collection Agent May Not?
Here are the top 11 actions prohibited by the The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:
Misrepresent Him or Herself
A debt collector may not misrepresent himself as an attorney or law enforcement officer.
Use the Telephone to Annoy or Harass
A collection agent may not cause a telephone to ring or engage any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with an intent to annoy, abuse, or harass anyone at the called number.
Threaten Arrest or Lawsuit
A collection agent may not threaten a consumer with arrest. It may not threaten legal action that is either not permitted or not actually contemplated. In other words, a the threat of a lawsuit may be an empty one.
Use Abusive or Threatening Language
A debt collector may no use abusive or profane language in the course of communication related to the debt.
Publish a Bad Debt List
Publishing the consumer?s name or address on a "bad debt" list is prohibited.
Contact By Embarrassing Media
A debt collector may not communicate with a consumer by post card. It may not use any language or symbol, other than the debt collector?s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram. A debt collector may use its business name if such name does not indicate it is in the debt collection business.
Contact a Consumer at Work
A collection agent may not communicate with consumers at their place of employment after being told this is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer.
Seek Unjustifiable Amounts
A debt collector may not demand any amounts not permitted under an applicable contract or as provided under law.
Contact a Consumer Represented by an Attorney
A collection agent may not contact a consumer after it learns the consumer is represented by a lawyer.
Communicate With a Consumer After Receiving a Validation Request
If a consumer sends a written §1692g response within 30 days, the collection agent may not communicate with the consumer until it mails the consumer the requested verification of original creditor's name and address.
Communicate With Third Parties
A debt collector may not reveal or discuss the nature of a consumer?s debts with third parties other than the consumer?s spouse or attorney. A collection agent may contact neighbors or co-workers only to obtain location information. It may contact a third party again if it has reason to believe the information the party provided previously is false.
Bills.com FDCPA FAQ
Below are questions Bills.com readers ask frequently:
Can a Collection Agent Call My Cell Phone?
Yes. However, if you tell the debt collector it may not use that number because it is a cell phone, it may not contact you again at that number.
I Keep Receiving Dozens of Calls From Collection Agents. Is That Legal?
No. Unscrupulous collection agents will use "block parties" or "office parties" where they contact a consumer, multiple neighbors, or co-workers telling them they need to reach the consumer on an urgent matter. This is not permitted under the FDCPA.
A Collector Says I Will Be Arrested if I Do Not Pay
This was a true statement before the US Civil War, but has not been true since. People may be arrested if an aggressive judge files a bench warrant for a person who does not appear at a hearing relating to a lawsuit regarding a debt. However, in that case, the offense is the failure to respond to a court order, and not the existence of the debt. As stated above, it is illegal under the FDCPA to threaten a consumer with arrest if the consumer does not pay the debt.
Extortion Scam Related to Delinquent Payday Loans
December 07, 2010 FBI National Press Office
? filed under: Press Release
The Internet Crime Complaint Center has received many complaints from victims of payday loan telephone collection scams. Callers claim the victim is delinquent in a payday loan and must repay the loan to avoid legal consequences. The callers purport to be representatives of the FBI, Federal Legislative Department, various law firms, or other legitimate-sounding agencies. They claim to be collecting debts for companies such as United Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Net, and other Internet check-cashing services.
According to complaints received from the public, the callers have accurate data about victims, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, employer information, bank account numbers, and the names and telephone numbers of relatives and friends. How the fraudsters obtained the personal information varies, but in some cases victims have reported they completed online applications for other loans or credit cards before the calls started.
The fraudsters relentlessly call the victim?s home, cell phone, and place of employment. They refuse to provide any details about the alleged payday loans and become abusive when questioned. The callers have threatened victims with legal actions, arrests, and, in some cases, physical violence if they do not pay. In many cases, the callers harass victims? relatives, friends, and employers.
Please do file reports with the FBI, your state attorney general and Department Of Justice,FTC & FCC..
Is this a payday loan company I know its a debt collection ... Im confused ....theses ppl are CRAZY
called left no message Malcom s Gerald and associates, calling on my cell phone which is a private/witheld number, how did they get this number> scumb bag attorneys...put on do not call registry and like what I said above me(post)we submitted a complaint to the FCC....no letteers of a court case, nothing from this scum people , they need to stop, if they are attempting to collect a debt we have no zombie old debt that this people buy pennies on the dollars=why are they not shut down, praying on disablied and a senior.
this number called again, leaving no message, reported two times to do not call registry and to theFCC......bottom feeders wanting money from old debt.
aparently this is a bottom feeder attorney office, first time call as this is a new cell phone, called me by name and threatened marshalls on a debt, find out it is Malcom gerald and associates out of chicago, preying on seniors for old zombie debt. harrassment and they have a better busnesss bureau status...why this was a recorded message to a generic voice mail and they knew my full name...said no company name on the debt just a bogus number to get us to call them back.
why call me at work
Why call someone at a former job so those people can Cal you at your new job so you can get fired. Then they really won't get paid. Um there is a law that says they can't collect and call someone while they are at work.
Too bad someone has not taught this firm manners. There are times when people encounter financial difficuties and are working through their problems. I've retained an Attorney and am working them - yet Mr. Gerald continues to call me at work, hangs up, and today went so far as to call me an A--shole over the phone. I'm sorry Mr. Gerald, but maybe you should stop harrasing people at work, tell your employees to not speed read their voice messages (be nice to understand who is calling, get the name of the firm, etc.
I have reported you to my Attorney and also the BBB - surprised you even have a rating.
These ppl keep calling my house everyday trying to collect money. The economy is so messed up, gas high and food prices are sky high so tell me who have money to pay bills. First, when I heard the message on my answer machine I was disguisted by how the lady was talking. She was talking so fast til she had to catch her breath and then smacked on the phone on her spit, ewh where they do that at. They really need to stop calling my freaking phone before I go the F*** off.....Dueces>
Been receiving these calls too. Always a recorded message and most likely a scam, but won't call them back as I have no time or patience for nonsense like this.
I keep getting calls from this number; I sent them a cease and quit calling me letter.
These people just called me at work and left a message. What are they talking about?! It was a live person talking on my voicemail, that since I did not say I was not "xxxx", I acknowlege that I am her. Therefore, I BETTER call them to resolve my debt. Then, she talked a mile a minute giving out her return information. She said her name was Dianne Haynes with this company. I have a few choice words for them now on what they BETTER do!
Not true....you can tell them a hundred times they have the WRONG number and they continuously call everyday or so. I agree if its your debt you can't get mad but when its not yours its harassing to get the calls
LAdy yelled at me telling me it was not her problem that I could not pay the bill. I asked if there was a way to make arrangements she said not AI should have thought about that before I ran the bill up. Told me to learn how to handle my finances better.
Every one always says negative things! How about the people whom want to take their financial obligations and where are they? Somewhere happy to get behind them! Bill collectors wouldn't be calling you if you was a person of your word and paid and if it's a wrong number pick up and say so! I'm pretty sure if they knew ur was wrong number they wouldn't be calling! Next time a bill collector calls u Dnt get mad at them get mad at yourself its your bill
billy maze>? is that you? back from the dead?
" we at Malcolm S. Gerald and A** company, are your new best friends !"
They called another extension at work and left a message there. They just try to embarrass you. This is the type of thing that makes me want to give them the finger and not pay them a dime.
Like the gal said, save the number under some wierd name, you know its them, hit ignore when they call, move on....I've always wondered...Who the hell works at these places anyway?
Left message revealing all personal information with another person who I am, that they are collecting a debt etc. I will file a law suit against these jerks. I owe no debt. The message stated, If you are not so and so, hang up now, by continuing to listen to this call you acknowledge you are 'so and so' and we will collect a debt from you. Automated message gave all types of personal information to the person. Sick of this harassment. See you in court MALCOLM YOU LAW BREAKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Under the TCPA, a consumer has a right to file a lawsuit and recover $500 for each call that violates the TCPA. The TCPA can also be used in conjunction with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in some situations.
Generally, the TCPA does not apply to debt collectors making collection calls to debtors. However, if you are subjected to calls from a debt collector and you are not the debtor, you may file a lawsuit against the debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the TCPA.
This right was recently recognized by Judge Legrome D. Davis in a case called Watson v. NCO Group, Inc. NCO Group is a debt collector that uses automated prerecorded collection calls. In this case, Mr. Watson alleged he was getting hundreds of calls from NCO Group after he got a new phone number. Mr. Watson claimed he owed no debt to NCO Group, Inc. Mr. Watson filed suit under both the FDCPA and TCPA.
David Israel, defense lawyer for NCO, argued that the TCPA should not apply to debt collectors. Judge Davis rejected the argument made by David Israel. The judge ruled that Mr. Watson had a right to sue NCO Group Inc under the TCPA for $500 for each call. Judge Davis wrote;
[The] Court is convinced that a non-debtor's rights are in fact violated when he is subjected to repeated annoying and abusive debt collection calls that he remains powerless to stop.
Judge Davis' ruling was based upon his interpretation that collection calls to non-debtors violate the privacy rights provided by the TCPA.
So what can you do if you receive "wrong number" calls from debt collectors?
1. Sign up for the Do-Not-Call registry.
2. Save the calls captured by your voice mail or answering machine.
3. Contact a consumer lawyer.
These idiots have been calling my husband's number for years now, they ask for some other dude. They don't get it! They try to intimidate, suggest that they will "sic the law" on you, anything to squeeze a dime, when they don't even get the person they thought they were calling!! He just tries to keep them on the line now for as long as he can, he figures that way they aren't harassing some other poor Joe. (He's is oddly entertained and amused by this method of dealing with dopes... I don't know who is sicker at this point, him or the morons that call.) :P
You gotta be kidding!
These jokers have been calling for 2+ years I have no debt
I am 750K in the bank. I have repeatedly told them they have the wrong number to no avail.
They are CROOKS, have some fun at their expense tell them the check is in the mail, you know the routine. What can they do; give you a bad credit score? NO you already have a bad credit score. Wise up people you made a mistake, so waste their time on the phone and have some fun BUT GIVE THEM NOTHING! You owe them NOTHING, you owe someone else. So,let it go, waste their time and maybe they will let it go.
And be careful because they can track your current phone number throught the Social Security. It just happened to me. Not even 10 minutes ago.
My boyfriend got a call saying that he owed 1,900 dollars...who honestly has that kind of money to be handing out and for stupid magazines too!!! We just had a baby and we still live with his parents....does it sound like we have that kind of money. PLUS....the caller was so RUDE!!
I got a call from these leeches. I just save the number so I remember not to answer it (saved under paydayparasites, I think I I'm so clever). Thanks to this nifty website I was able to figure out who the number belonged to. so much for there unambiguous phone call tactics. They will get there money when I'm good and ready god dammit.
I just got contacted by these jerks and the lady was rude as all get out. I am a college student with no money. I am only getting through school becuase of student loans and scholarships. I think I have 3 bucks to my name to do laundry with.
left message with one of my co-workers, they are never supposed to call your work and divulge personal information - which Deangelo Mills from this company did!
Philosophy of Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates, Inc. Lieslieslies
For over 45 years, Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates, Inc. (MSG) has developed successful financial recovery programs for a wide variety of businesses. We have the experience and the resources to create solutions for tough recovery problems.
We work with our clients to understand their financial problems, to propose realistic solutions and to help them achieve their expectations and goals. It is this level of involvement and understanding that makes MSG the best choice for any financial recovery issue.
You recognize your objective to resolve unpaid accounts, but you are also concerned with customer relations and do not want to jeopardize your business.
The cornerstone of our success as a company has been our policy to treat your customers with professional dignity and care so they will return to you once the account has been resolved. Our goal is to serve the best interests of our client while meeting the needs of the customer.
Our collection staff is thoroughly trained and monitored in the MSG Collection Philosophy. The root of this philosophy lies in the adage "Seek first to understand, before you try to be understood". We let your customer know that they are being heard while fully explaining the charges, offering solutions and acting on our client's behalf to resolve the account.
Our mission, simply stated, is to become the center support in the bridge between our client and their customer.
Yes indeed they are a collection agent, just as relentless as all the other collections agents