A few simple points to consider before complaining... If you have never had an account with the creditor they represent, the creditor is who your complaint is with not the collection agency; they simply pursue you based on the information provided by the creditors. If you are not the right party, cooperate with the collection agent to confirm this and they will not call you again. Are you the person their looking for? If so, then you have an obligation that has not been fulfilled, and you must do so in a timely fashion.
If the collector you are talking to is unprofessional ask for an officer of the company, most agencies have a compliance officer. Without the agencies aggressively pursuing debtors who have not paid, every "of age" citizen is now carrying the burden of the debt by paying higher interest rates and tougher qualification requirements. Not to mention more taxes for the bailout of these larger corporations.
If you are the indebted party and are upset with the calls to reach you, you need to reevaluate your efforts to resolve the issue. If you truly are unable to pay the debt back, the bankruptcy courts will bring the account to its final conclusion, whether it is a personal debt or a business debt.
The problem in my opinion is people get frustrated with the embarrassment of their inability to pay and have learned in our society that if you complain loud enough you can sometimes avoid the obligation all together as the creditors are not looking for a fight and will stop pursuing the debt as a course of least resistance. Most of the people who complain on these blogs fall into this category. If the collection agents are threatening action outside the abilities of actual legal recourse they are acting criminally and your complaint is best addressed by Law Enforcement.
My suggestions are as follows: If you owe a debt: pay it!!! If you can't pay it: file the relief the creditors are entitled to by filing Bankruptcy!!! It is a tough job to be a collection agent, most parties are in denial and attack the collector and the methods legally approved by The F.D.C.P.A. in an effort to avoid their obligations. ON the flip side if more people would talk to the collectors they would find that they have insight on ways to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the creditor and the debtor.
I have been in the industry 25 years and have been able to help THOUSANDS of parties resolve the problem of not only the creditor I was representing but other creditors they had in delinquency as well. Collectors are not the problem, people hiding from or ignoring their creditors are the problem. If you have any questions on how to address debt issues please reply to my blog - I will be happy to assist in any way possible, and it will not cost you a dime, only your time to research the best solution available.
Back in the mid 1980's I attended one of the National Education centers school of electronics, National Institute of Technology, henceforth NCE/NIT. These schools later were labeled "student loan farmers", and had one of if not the highest default rates in the nation. NEC was sued by a number of state over the years according to my Google search. The latest is California, in 2007. The school NEC, no longer exists. It was bought out by Olympia. I found this out recently, as I was considering suing them for fraud.
Over the years I have asked DEPT of Ed to send me copies of the records. They never did, nor did they reply. Only recently have they done so. Like in the last 30 days. At one time I had the State of Michigan, through its student loan program Michigan Direct, was willing to pay off my loans and take them over even though they were in default status. I even paid for a 3 way call between Michigan Direct (as it was called back then) and the Dept of Ed, and again DOE refused to cooperate. I still live in Michigan, the state that has one of the worst economies in the nation.
In July of 2007, NCO financial contacted me about the loans. At the time, this was the first contact from either Dept of Ed, or any 3rd party collections agency in over 10 years. Realizing NCO was a 3rd party collections agency, I did my usual demand for validation form letter, demanding they provide a copy of a contract between myself and NCO financial named as primary parties. NCO failed to respond, and I sent them the default letter at the end of August of 2007.
Now in November of 2007 I get letters from Dept of Ed, claiming I went to a school called Olympia. I never attended that school, and demanded a full copy of all records concerning the same, to validate their claim. I was sent over 150 pages of documents. Not one names Olympia as the school I attended. Furthermore, the Dept of Ed's record keeping is completely messed up.
The most recent copies of the so called "promissory notes" do not show a valid signature. Where the signature goes, is covered by various stickers and stuff. And most of the P-notes are incomplete, and have no back side to them. If there is no valid contract, how can they file a claim? How can they Validate their claim?! Can I challenge their claim for lack their being able to show a valid contract?
The loans are growing faster than my paycheck, and for me to pay the minimum, would be the equivalent to my housing costs or nearly 70 percent of my take home pay. I cannot afford to do both. I have an IRS garnishment on my check (hey, my screw up, and I'm paying for it) and the government is taking nearly 1/3rd of it. Any more and I might as well quit trying.
Now I get a letter from Dept, in an envelope that has Dept of Ed's name and address on it, and it says I have to contact NCO financial. BULL. Since researching NCO financial, I have found a lawsuit that was settled that said 3rd party collections agencies cannot use false envelopes to make the consumer think the information is coming from a government source, such as Dept of Ed.
If the Dept of Ed thinks I'm going to pay NCO an extra 10K just to collect money that I would be sending to a US DEPT of ED address, they are totally INSANE. Why should I pay NCO if Dept of Ed is collecting the money? Will post more on this as things develop.
NCO Financial started calling me very soon after I went delinquent on my American Express card. Before I go any further, YES I do owe the debt, but due to financial reasons, I was unable to make any payments at the time. So, they called me all day, every day... Called my cell, my wife, anything they could. Even after talking to them and explaining my issue, they would call me back the same day hoping that I miraculously won the lottery and could pay them. They all spoke horrible English and eventually started talking down to me and trying to put words in my mouth.
After months of this, we finally came to terms on a settlement, but they REFUSED to put anything in writing. After talking to 4 supervisors and catching them all in lies about their company's practices (they all contradicted each other), I finally got to feeling that I was being scammed and just felt very uncomfortable. I called American Express with an attempt to settle directly with them, however they said I could not. I then learned that NCO was contracted out to collect the debt and that it WAS NOT SOLD TO THEM. The lady with AMEX asked if I would like to file a complaint with their actions, I did and she removed them from negotiations.
Within a week's time, NCO stopped calling and Nationwide Credit took over. After a 20 minutes phone call, I came to terms with Nationwide and within 3 weeks, the settlement was COMPLETE!!! NCO has not called me since. I am more excited to see NCO go down than I am to settle that account... lol. So if you are in the same boat as I was, call your original creditor and see if you can have them removed from the account.
About 2 months ago, I started getting telephone calls from NCO Financial at ALL times of the day. Starting at 8am and not ending until 9pm. I finally got tired of it and called them back. They told me that I had a debt that needed to be paid. When I inquired from whom this debt was for, they stated it was from Sears Roebuck. Here's the kicker... I haven't had a Sears account since 1989 when my credit cards were stolen.
When I asked the guy at NCO what the date of the debt was. He stated, 1989. I then told him, that under the laws of Florida, this is a non-valid debt as it was from stolen credit cards AND extend past 7 years. I told him to stop calling me, and if they continue, they will be sued for harassment and fraud. That actually seemed to work.
Then, I jumped on the phone with Sears's Fraud Department. Of course they asked me for my account information... which I didn't have and haven't had in 20 years! I informed them that selling an account that they had a police report on for theft, was illegal and I demanded that they ceased NCO Financial immediately, or they will also face a lawsuit. Their fraud department "disconnected" my call THREE TIMES!!!
I decided to pull my credit reports. Sure enough, NCO Financial is listed on my credit report SEVEN TIMES. TWO are for the same account (for which proof of theft was given). The other FIVE accounts were from companies that go back 15 years or more!
This is very frustrating as I DO NOT OWE ON THESE ACCOUNTS. I spent three years of my life fighting credit card companies and proving the theft of my credit cards and identity theft. Now, thinking that I can start to get my life back, NCO Financial decides to repost old debts to my credit file. Regardless that I do not owe them anything! Now, I have to go back 20 years, find the police report and dispute all the items on my credit report.
This is a never ending cycle and I am so fed up with it, that I am going to fight fire with fire. I'm not only posting as much negative information about NCO Financial and the companies that sell their accounts to them, all over the internet... I am going to every single BBB and Government Consumer Department known to man.
NCO Financial, needs to stop being greedy and buying up accounts! They need to actually research the "zombie" accounts that they are buying before they find themselves out of business for good. I think a Class Action Lawsuit is in order. And I believe, that any company that sells its old and closed accounts to NCO Financial, should have to pay as well. Selling fraudulent and old accounts should be against the law! It's fraudulence on a corporate level.
PENNSYLVANIA -- This company keeps calling me saying I owe a debt to a university in Pennsylvania for charges incurred in 2002. I left this particular university and transferred to another college in 1999. I DIDN'T ATTEND THIS UNIVERSITY IN 2002!!! They also claim that I have made payments on this debt in the past but stopped in August 2008. The only payments I have ever made regarding education are the ones for my federal student loans, which I ALWAYS pay on time and directly to the US Dept of Education.
I called the university and they say I have no outstanding debt with them. I also know this to be true since they released my transcripts to the college I transferred to in 1999. They would not have released my grades if I owed them a debt, and the Bursar confirmed this with me.
I also spoke to a neighbor who is a federal prosecutor and he told me to cease all contact with NCO and check my credit record IMMEDIATELY. They had not posted anything to my record as of yet. He said their practices are fraudulent and assured me I had done the right thing in contacting the university directly. He also told me that any remaining debt I may have had (which I don't) is beyond the statute of limitations for both Pennsylvania and Virginia, where I currently reside.
Yesterday NCO contacted me again, still trying to collect on a debt that doesn't exist. When I called the woman out on the fraud, she became belligerent and threatened to report the debt to my credit record. She offered to send me a statement of the debt to prove it existed. When I asked her to confirm my address and social security number, she said she was unable to procure this information on her own, so she had nothing to repeat back for my verification.
Then she asked me for my address and social. NEVER GIVE ANYONE YOUR SOCIAL OVER THE PHONE!!! When I informed her that it would be hard for her to report me without my social security number, she became more indignant. She also didn't have an answer when I asked her how she got my phone number. She would know where she got the phone number (which, by the way, is listed to my father - not me - who has a different last name since I have been married for 8 years) if the university actually gave it to NCO.
I told her not to call again and that I would be reporting NCO to the FBI's financial fraud division. She hung up on me. Also, she sounded like she was eating a sandwich while we were speaking over the phone.
A few years ago, I was contacted by NCO Financial about unpaid credit card debts from several years prior. They tried all the tactics I've read about here. From my experience, I have the following advice to offer: Before you talk to a debt collector, you must read and understand the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Google it. There are also several books available which explain the act in plain language and provide sample letters to use in communicating with collectors. It is imperative that you understand your rights before you talk to debt collectors. Accepting their statements as fact is just stupid.
Do not be scared by debt collectors' aggressive tactics. Don't fall for their lame attempts to inject a sense of urgency into your situation. By the time a company like NCO has purchased your bad debt, there is nothing urgent about it. You've certainly got time to look into it. And whatever you do, don't let let them talk you into making an immediate payment... no matter how small. Making a payment on a debt on which the statute of limitations has expired will reconfirm the debt and make you responsible for it.
In my particular case, NCO started harassing me about 90 days before the statute of limitations ran out. By requesting in writing that they confirm the debt and by insisting that we communicate only in writing, I was able to delay them until the statute of limitations expired. I then sent them a letter explaining that they'd just missed the statute deadline and invited them to move on to another victim.
I still get calls from third party debt collectors now and then, but instead of worrying about what they might do to me, I toy with them until they get frustrated enough to hang up. I must admit I've come to actually enjoy it. I get frustrated reading accounts of the harassment these vultures subject people to. If you're in a situation where you must deal with these companies, invest the time into arming yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
TEXAS -- NCO Group agreed to pay $250,000 to the state of Texas to resolve an enforcement action that focused on the company's debt collection practice in the state. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced Friday that his office had reached a settlement with accounts receivable management giant NCO Group in an enforcement action targeted at NCO's work on behalf of its debt buying unit, NCO Portfolio Management. Horsham, Pa.-based NCO agreed to pay $100,000 to the state's general revenue fund and $150,000 to the state's attorney general's office to cover legal fees incurred in the investigation.
Under the settlement, NCO admitted no wrongdoing. Abbott's office said in a press release that NCO violated the Texas Debt Collection Act by making “harassing and sometimes profanity-laden telephone calls to Texans” and not verifying the validity of the debt when challenged by consumers. “Today's agreement protects Texans from unlawful debt collection practices,” Abbott said. “Texas law prohibits collection agencies from using unlawful threats and coercion to collect debts. With today's agreement, the world's largest debt collector agreed to implement safeguards that will protect debtors and ensure full compliance with the law.”
NCO said in a statement that it would spend $300,000 over the next three years on compliance programs. The company said it would spend the money on “technology designed to further strengthen its communication with consumers and to assist consumers in resolving disputes that arise from time to time in the collection process.” NCO will also establish a $150,000 restitution fund.
Michael J Barrist, NCO Chairman and CEO, commented in the statement, “NCO is proud of its record on consumer compliance. We are pleased to be able to resolve Texas's concerns within a framework that will allow us to improve our consumer interaction not only in Texas but within all of our markets. As the largest provider of accounts receivable collection services in the world, we truly believe that our new initiatives will set the standard for the entire industry.”
April 3, 2008. In a conference call to discuss financial results, NCO said that it is seeing labor costs drop due to offshore hiring, and that it plans to expand its presence in other markets. NCO Group is realizing cost savings benefits by leveraging offshore labor, and the company has plans to open more international collection offices, company executives told investors during a conference call Wednesday.
The announcement follows the release Monday of 2007 annual and fourth quarter results by the global accounts receivable management and business process outsourcing provider. NCO reported that its collections, or ARM, unit payroll and related expenses dropped more than 11 percent to $95.8 million while revenue in the unit increased by $4 million to $204.3 million in the quarter.
CEO Mike Barrist said yesterday that labor costs had been reduced because the company is placing more collections work at centers in near-shore and offshore locations, and that improved technology platforms were creating labor efficiencies. The company is planning on opening a new office in the Philippines – its third in that country – and is looking into opening a new office in Latin America. NCO currently operates an office in Panama in Central America and offices in Barbados and Antigua in the Caribbean.
The company's most recent SEC filing underlines the shift to locations outside of the U.S. In its annual report filing for 2007, NCO said that last year, it counted revenues of $76.4 million from locations other than the U.S. and Canada, a 163 percent increase over the total in 2006.
NCO noted that the work performed in locations outside of the U.S. is typically for clients in the States, but that it was increasing the work it does for foreign clients. In 2007, 8.1 percent of the company's revenue came from work for clients in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. NCO said that at the end of 2007, it counted approximately 22,400 full-time employees and 1,600 part-time employees, of which approximately 19,000 were telephone representatives.
VIRGINIA -- I have received a letter from this company stating that my account was sold to them for collection. This account is for a supposed monogram gas card my husband opened in 1994. WE HAVE NEVER OPENED OR HAD A GAS CARD! I explained this to the girl I was speaking to and she said if I cannot prove that we never opened one we are responsible for the bill. The bill is for almost 900 dollars.
I expressed to her my dissatisfaction in her comment because people fraudulently steal other's information and use it to open credit cards. She replied the same ignorant comment as before. So I asked her for more information and she said she could not provide any but that If I would like to pay over the phone I could. WTF! is basically what I told her. How can they demand we pay when we have never owned a gas card. I asked to speak to a supervisor and she said none was available to me. So what now? Are we stuck? I think not, If I have to take a negative rating on our credit score until they get to the bottom of it then so be it.
I REFUSE TO PAY FOR SOMETHING OF WHICH WE HAVE NEVER OWNED OR OPENED! I then asked her again for a supervisor and she said there was not one available. I told her I refuse to speak to her because she is repeating the same stupidness out of her mouth as before. She then stated that I shall have the luxury of speaking to no one and hung up. WTF! I don't care if it takes the next ten years to sort out. I'm not paying for something that we never opened and is clearly theft of my husband's identity.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- NCO Financial has got to be investigated. Please contact appropriate authorities if you have been ripped off by them. Last year I received a collection notice from them about an overdue medical bill. Being a person who doesn't like the idea of having bad credit, I paid it promptly. After trying to get reimbursed by my insurer the insurance company informed me that nothing had gone to collection. Beth Israel hospital has no record of this debt going to collection.
I have repeatedly tried to get NCO to send me info about this debt and they have never sent me any documentation. I was out over $400 for this. It makes my blood boil. Last week I got a notice for an AT&T bill that was paid years ago. This company is a total con operation that uses semi-legitimate functions to get away with theft. Please tell your stories to the authorities. What they are doing is criminal.I am going to pursue litigation against these lowlifes.