Academy Collection Service

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Academy Services Complaint
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I have been dealing with employees of this company for just a little while but it is very distressing because they keep calling not only me but my elderly mother about something my ex-husband owes or has done, but I'm not sure which it is. I have been divorced from this man for over 20 years, we had no children, and he owes me thousands of dollars. No need to bore everyone with the details but the point is that he defrauded me during our brief marriage. I had to repay thousands of dollars of his debt and was left with only a worthless contractual promise from him to repay me. It was worthless because he disappeared after our divorce became final and I have not had any contact with him. Heck, if I knew where he was I would go after him myself to get the money he owes me.

The first time they called I was so surprised that someone was calling me asking about my ex-husband not only because we divorced over 20 years ago but because I had also relocated to a new state. The person refused to answer any of my questions including the one that I was most perplexed about which was how they got my name and phone number. But since I never wanted to hear from them again I gave them the info on our divorce and explained how this horrible man had defrauded me (which is why I divorced him) and that he still owed me a lot of money. I assured this person I had no contact with this con man and since he owed me so much money he would not be calling me. This person was gruff and uncooperative (about giving me any answers as to why they were calling me, why they were looking for the ex, etc.) but after hearing the facts she did finally apologize for bothering me and told me that she would update the records. I thought the matter was finished, but no such luck. A week or so went by and a man from this company called my mother (who is 79 years old) asking for my ex-husband. Fortunately I had told her about the call I had received so she wasn't as surprised as I had been. She asked this person the same sort of questions I had asked and did not get too many answers but she still reiterated the information about my divorce, etc. He said he would update the files. My mother then jokingly asked the person to let her know if they did find him [my ex] because he owed me thousands of dollars and the man hung up on her. As distressing as it was to get these calls and unearth a very stressful and unhappy time in my life I hoped that this would finally put the matter to rest, but it did not.

A couple of weeks go by and I get another call from this company about the ex-husband. I demanded answers to my questions about what was going on and how they got my name and phone number. This person told me that all she knew was that I was listed in her file as a member of his family. I then told her the complete story (just as the previous employees of this company had been told) and demanded that she remove me and my mother from her list and to never call us again. She told me that she would update the records and hung up. Then about a week or so later there was a voice mail message on my answering machine demanding that [name of my ex-husband] call the company immediately, etc. I ignored the call. A couple of days later I received another call from this company. Now I am getting really upset. I told the person about the previous calls, the promises made by other employees of this company to update the records so that no more calls would be made to me and my mother, and again demanded to know how they got my name and number and why they kept calling me. This person tells me that he [the ex] had some sort of banking issue and that the person got my name and phone number because he [the ex] had listed me as a reference. Well, you can imagine given what he had done to me during our brief marriage in the 1980s that this info really freaked me out.

I again reiterated the facts and this time DEMANDED that they cease calling immediately. Again, I was promised that the records would be updated and the calls would stop. Again, not true. Today my mother was called. Bless her heart she was really forceful about them explaining what was going on. This person said that they had our names because they do a background search to find all people that had connections to him and that he [the ex] was in big trouble with Citibank and that it rose to the level of being a criminal matter. My mother told her about the other calls, retold her the facts and again told her to stop calling us because given the history with this con man their calls (and misinformation) was causing great distress to me and that we had NO information about him or his whereabouts. This person again said that the records would be updated and the calls would stop. My Mom then asked this person why the records had not already been updated and why were they continuing to harass us. The person hung up on her.

The employees of this company have lied to me about how they got our names and phone numbers. Their promises of updating the records so the calls would stop were also lies. Although we finally got some information about what was going on the information that was provided was very vague and given the other lies they have already told I guess I will never know for sure whether they are being truthful.

It is not my debt (or whatever the banking issue he has with Citibank) yet me and my mother are the ones getting these calls. How many times do I have to tell them the same facts? How many times do I have to tell them I have not had any contact with this man for over 20 years? This is a very upsetting and frustrating situation.
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tnchuck100 on 12/06/2008:
Send them a letter demanding they stop calling you. Send it certified mail/return receipt requested.

The following link will provide you some useful information:
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Anonymous on 12/06/2008:
Good info, Chuck. Debt collectors were harassing my friend about her ex's debt, too. After four years of mail being sent to her house, which they never owned together, it's hers, and harassing phone calls to her number, which she changed twice, she called a lawyer who sent out letters to these people and threatened to sue them. It cost her $600, but she considered it money well spent.
madconsumer on 12/06/2008:
in some states, once married, all debts, no matter who originated them, are 'theirs', not his, not hers. check your state laws. you may owe the debt even though it was not your bill.
tnchuck100 on 12/06/2008:
madconsumer, even if what you are thinking were true the statute of limitations has long since expired.
Anonymous on 12/06/2008:
I'm not going to pretend to know every state's marital laws, but I find it hard to believe that you could be held responsible for his debts prior to marrying him.

I would contact an attorney right away, and find out what your rights are. Good luck!
Anonymous on 12/06/2008:
They were trying to hold my friend responsible for debt WELL AFTER their divorce. It wasn't hers, it was never in her name, but somehow, she was going to have to get him to pay the bills, according to them. These people were horrid to her!
MissyB196 on 12/07/2008:
Thanks for the replies. I will definitely send that letter. Thanks chuck for the link. I hope that will end the matter because I divorced the guy 21 years ago and whatever trouble he has gotten himself into with Citibank is recent. In my case, madconsumer, these people are not bugging me about any debt they are bugging me about whether I know where my ex is.
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Debt Collection Agency Fined $2.25 million by FTC for FDCPA Violations
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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- A collection agency based in Philadelphia and its owner have agreed to pay a $2.25 million civil penalty to settle an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over a laundry list of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations and other unfair business practices.

The FTC announced the settlement Friday. The government agency noted that it is the largest civil penalty the FTC has received for a debt collection case.

Academy Collection Service, Inc. and owner Keith Dickstein agreed to the penalty to settle charges that the company and its collectors misled, threatened, and harassed consumers; disclosed their debts to third parties; and deposited postdated checks early, in violation of federal law. Dickstein was cited for not stopping the violations.

The FTC said in a statement that more than 1,000 complaints were filed against Academy with the FTC, various state attorneys general, the Nevada and Pennsylvania Better Business Bureaus, and the company itself, prompting an investigation. During the investigation, the FTC determined that Academy often ignored consumer complaints.

“These defendants are responsible for their debt collectors’ abusive practices,” said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. “They ignored people's complaints and rewarded the collectors who broke the law. This is not a business model that the FTC tolerates.”

Two other Academy officers, Edward L. Hurt III and Albert S. Bastian, were also named in the complaint, but did not participate in the settlement.

According to the FTC, Bastian and Hurt led Academy’s Las Vegas collection operation. Leonard Gordon, director of the FTC’s Northeast Regional Office – the office that filed the complaint – told insideARM that the FTC “was not able to reach a settlement with Bastian and Hurt.” The suits against the men are ongoing.

“The Las Vegas office was clearly the nexus for a lot of the [violating] activity,” said Gordon. “And these two men ran that office.”

In addition to the monetary penalty, Academy agreed to alter many of its business practices and refrain from certain activities such as misrepresenting debts to consumers, improperly communicating with third parties about a debt; using false, deceptive, or misleading representations in debt collection efforts; communicating with a consumer at any unusual time or place, including the workplace; or harassing, oppressing, or abusing any person in connection with debt collection.

Gordon noted that Academy “appeared to be making steps to correct their business practices.”

Calls to Academy were not returned.

by Patrick Lunsford
November 24, 2008
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DebtorBasher on 11/24/2008:
It took this lawsuit for them to finally "agree" to refrain from continuing with all of those violations?

They should be put out of business!!!
bargod on 11/24/2008:
So who collects their debt if they don't pay? lol.
DebtorBasher on 11/24/2008:
NCO will...LOL!
Principissa on 11/24/2008:
That's really sad. It took a lawsuit to get them to agree to do the right thing.
DebtorBasher on 11/24/2008:
Well...all the complaints didn't do it and all the warnings didn't work....
jktshff1 on 11/24/2008:
paybacks heck...
DebtorBasher on 11/24/2008:
I don't feel sorry for collection agencies that does business like that...they know they are wrong. Do they need a "Basher Visit" at their front door to teach them a thing or two about the FDCPA?????
Anonymous on 11/24/2008:
I think these rules concerning debt collection are unfair and silly. So what if collectors misled, threatened, and harassed consumers; disclosed their debts to third parties; and deposited postdated checks early. Why should that be against the law? Heck, I do basically the same things to get laid. It's called persuasion. I'm tired of legislation geared to protect the dumbest morons amongst us. So long as there's not physical violence or egregious fraud then I say let the collectors do their job. Another small business man gets anally raped by do-gooder protect the stupid intrusive government regulations. What's becoming of us?
DebtorBasher on 11/24/2008:
You deposit postdated checks early, to get laid? LOL!

I'm all for the Debtor's Prison.
MRM on 11/24/2008:
Crabman is always a toot!
boogienight on 11/24/2008:
I used to work for them, and on Friday I read the full complaint and what the complain suggest is so wrong, first off most the complaints are generated from the Philadelphia office and second it states that Keith Dickstein live and work in NV, from my yrs of being there he only visit the Las Vegas office when there are problems which wasn't often, he works at the Philadelphia office so maybe the government need to investigate that. Could he be avoiding PA and Philadelphia tax, as there is no city or state tax here in LV NV, I wonder what else he's getting away with. The officers named in the complaint is total B.S, I don't like them but to blame them for the entire company when they take orders from the Philadelphia office is wrong, how come they didn't list the top bosses. And no they have not stop the complaints from coming in, all the illegal activities are still going on, because they have not changed their policies. The company is in trouble,they have laid off over 50 employees in the past few weeks and I'm sure they will be shutting down soon.
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Collection agent threats
Posted by on
COLORADO -- I was called on May 26 8 am. by
Bob Travis and given a phone number to call and his extension he said this was according to some federal law. He said he had sent a letter to my home and did not receive a reply and I had to call him back. I called the 1800 number and it was Academy Services not knowing anything about this Bob Travis or who this co was I asked what kind of service do you do and I was hung up on. My phone number is unlisted. How did he get my phone number? He did not say he was a bill collector or the name of the co. I am not about to give any information on my business to anyone I do not know. I did not get a letter from him. I have not been told any of my accounts have been turned over to a collection agency. I left a message on my message machine when I went out that if this was Bob Travis calling back That my number is unlisted, how did he give the number. the agency hung up on me when I wanted to know what they do and not to call me again. there are laws to protect people against harassment of bill collectors. I am on welfare. My money is ungarnishable. I am judgment proof The collectors are to do all contact by mail not by phone. I reported this to Attorney General advocacy office consumers affairs in Denver . And I reported this to my lawyer. I am handicapped and elderly. I will not pay a cent to this agency or talk to this bill collector. I do not work. this is a horrible company with many complaints against them.. I will have a radio station host help me if necessary and give this company the publicity they deserve.
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bill on 05/27/2006:
I don't see were they made any threats or harassed you in any way. It was rude for them to hang up on you, but that really isn't harassment or a threat.
DebtorBasher on 05/27/2006:
What did you report, you said you don't know if this is a collection agency or not. Do a search on the internet to find out exactly what this company is all about.
Anonymous on 05/27/2006:
You really don’t say anything here except Bob Travis got your number and someone hung up on you? You are judgment proof, un-garnishable and unlisted other than that what is the matter, someone hung up on you?
Anonymous on 05/27/2006:
You go on & on about how rude this guy was to you, but fail to provide details? Also, if he is a bill collector, calling you looking for money you owe is his job. He is not harassing you by doing that.
Doc J on 05/27/2006:
Okay...I'm a brownshirt on this one. I don't know which one is more perverse; someone on "welfare and judgment proof" having a credit card (per the title) or that same individual being able to pay a premium for an unlisted phone number. The rest of us pay "universal access fees" on our phone bills so the indigent can have phones. The only number those phones should reach...9-1-1. Sorry bubba.
wary-consumer on 05/29/2006:
You are a deadeat!!! Why would you even think you have a valid complaint against someone that you owe money to??? Sheesh!!! The nerve of some people!!! I don't care if you think you are elderly, on welfare, or judgment proof. The fact is you promised to pay your creditors for money they lent to you in good faith in the past. You need to be mature and own up to your obligations and stop taking advantage of the system.
DebtorBasher on 05/29/2006:
What I like is when people doesn't want to be discrimminated against because they are elderly, on welfare or ... my favorite...a "single Mom"...yet, when they are treated like everyone else and expected to follow the same rules, all of a sudden they want special treatement and cry that it isn't fare because they are elderly, on welfare or a single Mom. Come on, you can't have it both ways.
Metal_or_Money on 07/01/2006:
You think because you are old and on welfare that you are "judgment proof"? Grannie, time to wake up and smell the Petunias! Your sad tale here wrecks of many inconsistencies. First, sounds like they are collecting a student loan? You said you know they have many complaints against them. How do you do that if you don't know who they are or why that are calling? Could your federal student loans be fraudulent? OK. If they are, (let's just assume you really are judgment proof) are you also JAIL PROOF? As a fraud investigator, I have had to haul in many a fiesty elderly person on welfare who sought to defraud the government and tax-payers. I hope this is not the case with you. I had an 89 yr old recently who signed for loans for her 18 yr old, The 18 yr old dropped out of college and her grandmother thought she could drop the debt. We found grannie, unpublished numbers and all, and we bound her over for fraud indictment.
romeopm on 11/10/2006:
I recently had one of the collectors call my hame to collect a bill. I have no problem with collectors calling my home because that is their job but he didn't just do a job it was flat out harassment! I was in the bedroom napping because I have been in the hospital for 3 days and I was sleeping because of the medication I was givin when the phone rang. my wife answered the phone and it was academy services. he asked for me and she asked him if I can call back later because he is very ill right now. he responded by saying "we have been trying to call him and he has been ignoring our calls".my wife said "OK, if you can tell me who I'm talking to I will be sure to let him know" he yelled and said " this is the people he owes money too!! and of course he hung up. well, my wife called the company back and asked for the manager or whoever is in charge the person she spoke to never apologized instead he tried to tell her that everything else don't matter we just need to collect money from him. so finally hung up. when I woke up she told me what happened and I became outraged because I really don't care how you talk to me but you will not talke to my family members like like.I called them and I talked to a guy name monte and all I said was " can I please talk to whoever is in charge".and he went into a rage by saying " let me tell you something son your not going to ask me like that with a attitude because I have 3 buttons I can hit and you will be gone"!I said "first of all that's why I ask for your manager I did not talk to you in a rude way so let me talk to your manager" he said " you wait like everyone else does"and I was put on hold!I called back and a lady answered the phone I explained very nicely what happened she then told me she cannot do anything but take my money I don't hear complaints, then she said " sir if you pay your bills you won't have these prolems. I then hung up. I finally talked to mr. dennis 4 days later he told me employee DO NOT supposed to talk to anyone like that and I will get down to the bottom of it because everything was recorded. he also told me until the investigation is over all calls will cease, but since then they have talked to my attorneys and they have called and tried to tell me that those employees has been terminated. (yea right)but I told him that I cannot talk to him if he wants to talk he has to talk to my attorneys. and I hung up.I understand that they have a job to do, but you cannot call people homes and talk to people like trash!
romeopm on 11/10/2006:
sure your a fraud investigatior metal. I really think you work for financial services.......nice try!
d3f4ult on 09/26/2007:
In all honesty.. I don't buy into the sob stories. HOWEVER, This academy services has been contacting me in regards to a Jennifer Murray for a few weeks now. I called up at first to politely ask them not to call my CELLPHONE. They are calling my business line, wasting mine and my customers time and my minutes. Granted the minutes thing is just an annoyance, however when you call up and ask them to remove your number, they forward you to a machine, and even the f**king machine is kind of rude. Give them a Shout boys.. take a listen 215-320-0424. I called up today and asked to talk to a PERSON to handle my number removal, this b*tch goes "This is how we handle those" phone rings, straight to this @#$@#$ voicemail box again. I call back and I'm like.. listen, no need to be rude I just want my number remo...*voicemail*. Call back again, hung up on immediately. Call from another number(by now I'm livid) call them all worthless f**king sk*nks and hang up. This has been going on for a couple of weeks and I'm sick of it. Jesus christ if only they were local... honestly, if they were I'd probably be in jail tonight..

fairmindedmensan on 01/09/2009:
All of you neo-republicans should search for Academy Services on these web sites;,, They are filled with stories about encounters with this company. They buy collection rights for pennies on the dollar from companies like Citibank and any dues they collect can be kept as their profits. Even if the debt has been paid by the individual, because the info these type of companies buy can be outdated, they will aggressively pursue the so called debtor. They have no right to take anyone they harass to court, only the company to which the money is owed can do that, but they threaten it anyway. They will even threaten bodily harm on some people and used illegal tactics to get phone numbers and adresses of not only the debtors, but their family members and friends, even their churches. I have received message from them because I live at the address of a past debtor. Hell can freeze over before I will return that call after I web searched their name. This is only going to get worse for many more people as the economy tanks. Show a little empathy people, these people are piranhas. And no one deserves to be treated like some of their victims have, no matter how much a person owes. Good people can owe money too because s*** happens to the best of us.
crystalruby on 03/19/2009:
Help, I am being sued by lawyers for an old Sears card I sent a settlement payment to for 2000.00 in 2006. Now they are saying I never made a payment. I assumed the card would be closed like Academy said, but apparently that did not happen. What can I do, how can I get them to sent me a receipt?
Anonymous on 06/18/2009:
Can't pay what you owe because you are on welfare but you can pay for an unlisted phone #. Bet you have a cell phone too don't you? And smoke & love beer. Funny how you can afford all of that.
theinvestigator on 11/06/2009:
Well, it appears that cell phones are now available for free to those who cannot afford a telephone. You can google search it yourself because I am not going to put that info here. The comments from those who do not have mercy for the poor are preparing a nice little spot in hell for themselves. Many of those who live below the poverty level are the most vulnerable to creditors--no one wants to be poor and disadvantaged. The economic downturn was due to rich, greedy people. The poor were the ones who PAID all the money due to creditors, yet the poor are easy targets to blame. I hear the fire down there in hell is pretty darn hot. Change your attitude towards the truly poor people or get your buns burned with the rest of the greedy.
Anonymous on 11/06/2009:
I heard somewhere once that those that judge others could also find themselves *down there in hell.* eh, but what do I know?

anywho, not sure who your comment is directed at there theinvestigator, but the poor cannot all be lumped into one group. some are poor 'cause they are lazy. some are poor 'cause they've had a turn of bad luck. some are poor 'cause they are uneducated and not able to find a decent payin' job. shall I go on?
goduke on 11/06/2009:
I think you're right about the judgers, KJ.

You have to admit, however, that someone who seems to take pride in running up bills and not paying them because they are "judgment proof" is going to raise some hackles. The OP may not really be trying to suggest that, but it does sort of come off that way.
Anonymous on 11/06/2009:
Whether somebody pays their bills or not is of no concern to me unless of course it's me they're not paying.
Monster66 on 02/13/2010:
For those leaving negative comments, this guy is 100% correct! They have been trying to reach me for a week, my mother (who is now 78) answered the phone and they were rude to her. She then passed the phone to me, and from the moment I got on the phone, they were rude. I told her that I was currently unemployed and I had no income that they would not be getting anything. She said they took notes, but funny because they called again the following day, and I informed the new rude person, that I had already spoken to someone, and she admitted that there were no notes taken. So I informed them again of the situation. They continue calling daily and hanging up. So I called them and talked to a Tina West who was rude, and she verified the information, and I asked why there were still calling since I have already talked to them twice and told them the situation. She again became rude and that's when I returned the rudeness, and said if you or anyone from your company calls here and speaks rude to my 78 year old mother again, I will take you to court! Her rude response was "Is that a threat or are you telling me" I said it's BOTH!

Plus also, check out and you will see TONS of people complaining on this company! So stop bashing. It's truth!
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