Commercial Recovery Systems (“CRS”) violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by threatening to sue consumers, obtain liens, judgments, or garnish wages without any intention of doing so according to consumers who filed FDCPA lawsuits. Consumers also alleged that CRS disclosed their alleged debts to other people including relatives, employers, and even landlords. Several consumers alleged that CRS’ representatives harassed, abused, belittled and even cursed at them.
For important information about CRS’s bankruptcy filing and the Federal Trade Commission’s Permanent Injunction against CRS, go to Page 2 of this article.
Although the factual allegations in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuits described in this article are just that — alleged facts which never were proven in court — the consumers allege violations of the FDCPA which, in my personal opinion, are unusually severe.
The FDCPA lawsuits filed by many consumers illustrate consumer’s rights and the limits of protection under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
An Orlando, Florida consumer alleged that Commercial Recovery Systems falsely threatened to get a “judgment” against him. The consumer alleged that CRS also suggested that he obtain an attorney and told him that he would be going to jail. Finally, the consumer alleged that CRS’ collector stated “You want to get belligerent? I will give you my address to come down here and take care of it?”
Collection agencies who make false threats that they will file a lawsuit, represent that they have filed a lawsuit, will obtain a judgment (without having the present ability and intention to sue), or threaten to immediately garnish a consumer’s wages (without having obtained a judgment), violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
A Tamarac, Florida consumer alleged that Commercial Recovery Systems called her landlord on “multiple occasions” and, on each such occasion, disclosed the existence of the alleged debt owed by consumer.
The consumer stated that CRS’ representatives were abusive when they called her at work including telling consumer that she “would be crying by the end of the week.”
CRS’ representatives allegedly told consumer’s landlord that a “legal complaint” had been filed against consumer when no such complaint had been filed.
Consumer also said that CRS told her that if payment was not made CRS would pursue legal action against her and garnish her wages although CRS did not intend to take such actions.
The federal lawsuit also alleged that CRS even threatened to take consumer’s “family business” although consumer does not own an family business.
“Debt Validation Letter”
A Virginia consumer alleged that he received a dunning letter from Commercial Recovery Systems and was unsure whether he actually owed the debt because his father who has a similar name also had financial problems.
The consumer alleged that he called CRS and disputed the validity of the debt and requested proof that the debt was his because of the potential for confusion with his father. The consumer got the impression that CRS’ representative was not paying attention to him and would only ask when he was going to pay the debt until the conversation ended.
The consumer’s request for debt validation may have been ineffective because the consumer did not allege that he made it in writing within thirty (30) days of receiving his initial communication from the debt collector (assuming the debt collector mailed the “g” or “30 day” notice.
But, consumers may dispute a debt at any time and such disputes may be verbal although it is usually a good idea to put it in writing.
The consumer alleged that, a couple of months later, CRS began calling him at work a couple of times a day. According to the consumer, CRS called him at work and, after CRS asked him when he was going to pay CRS, the consumer inquired about the debt and requested proof that the money was owed.
CRS allegedly told the consumer that he did not have to show the consumer proof of the debt and the then used profanity by asking consumer why it was so “f@*#ing” important to show consumer documents evidencing that the debt was owed. Consumer alleged that he responded to this tirade by informing CRS that his employer did not allow him to accept such calls at work and requested not to be contacted at work again before he hung up the phone.
The consumer alleged that CRS’ debt collector called him at work again that same day around 10 a.m. According to the FDCPA lawsuit, CRS’ representative called and asked him whether he intended to pay the debt now and stated that he could do what he wanted to collect the debt and that there was nothing that consumer could do to stop him. Consumer allegedly repeated his request that CRS provide proof of the debt and stop calling him at work.
The consumer further alleged that CRS’s representative called him at work again two hours later and stated that he was going to make sure that consumer was thrown in jail and that it was a federal crime not to pay the debt. Consumer allegedly replied that he knew his rights and that CRS’ collector could not speak to him like this. CRS’ collector allegedly replied that there was nothing that consumer could do about it. CRS’ collector allegedly hung up the phone after consumer stated that he was going to contact an attorney.
“Cease Communication Letter”
A Virginia consumer alleged that Commercial Recovery Systems called her at work and at home for eight months. CRS’ calls often displayed as “unknown caller” on her caller ID.
The consumer alleged that when she spoke with a CRS representative, the representative refused to identify herself after the consumer expressly asked her to do so.
A Virginia consumer alleged that CRS harassed and abused her by taunting her, mocking her, ridiculing her, insulting her, and directing profanity at her.
The FDCPA lawsuit alleged that CRS’ harassing and abusive language included calling consumer a “punk ass ho”, a “deadbeat bitch”, and “deadbeat ho” who likes to “go out and get sh*t without paying for it”.
Collection agencies are prohibited from using :
In my opinion, the comments alleged by the consumer would violate the FDCPA if proven true.
The Virginia consumer alleged that, following the conversation described above, she sent a letter to Commercial Recovery Systems requesting that CRS cease all communication with her.
The consumer alleged that, when a CRS debt collector called her, she reminded the debt collector that she’d already sent CRS a cease communication letter. According to the consumer, the debt collector persisted in attempting to collect the alleged debt, mocked the consumer for attempting to exercise her lawful right to request cease communication, and indicated that since consumer owed the money, CRS could and would continue to call consumer at her place of employment and anywhere else they could find her.
Although cease communication letters (also called “cease and desist letters) are often overused and misunderstood, I can appreciate the consumer’s frustration in attempting to cope with a collection agency that refuses to comply with a consumer’s lawful request.
Cease communication letters are distinguishable from requests that the debt collector stop calling the consumer while at work because it is either inconvenient or the employer has a policy which prohibits such calls — these requests may be verbal.
Pending “Legal Matter”
A Lakeland, Florida resident alleged that Commercial Recovery Systems called her mother at work and referred to a pending “legal matter” against consumer. Consumer alleged that she told CRS to “stop calling me, my mother, my coworkers, and my friends” and asked to be contacted only by U.S. mail.
CRS allegedly continued to call the consumer including a call to consumer’s employer’s secretary and left messages which referred to a pending “legal matter”.
The consumer also alleged that CRS left messages which falsely threatened to sue her.
A second Polk County, Florida resident alleged that he called Commercial Recovery Systems and requested that CRS provide him with the account balance and send him the letter setting forth his rights to request debt validation.
CRS allegedly refused to provide any information and told the consumer that his account would go to the “lien department” unless CRS received $ 110 before July 15, 2011.
The consumer alleged that when he informed CRS’ agent that he worked for the Department of Corrections, CRS’ debt collector replied “oh, where the criminals go, just like you”.
“Threats to Garnish”
In 2011, an Albuquerque, New Mexico consumer alleged that
Commercial Recovery Systems told her husband that CRS would file a lawsuit imminently, that consumer would be served process personally, and her wages would be garnished. During another telephone conversation, consumer’s husband asked CRS who the original creditor was and CRS allegedly replied that CRS was indeed the original creditor but in later conversations stated that the account was a credit card opened in 1999. After CRS refused to accept husband’s offers for payment arrangements, CRS allegedly referred to the “case number” and stated that court papers would be served very soon.
The consumer alleged that Commercial Recovery Systems has never even filed a lawsuit in New Mexico against anyone including the consumer.
“Another Threat of IRS Audit”
A Flagler County, Florida couple alleged that CRS’ collection agent not only falsely threatened to file a lawsuit against them but also falsely threatened to file a claim against consumers with the I.R.S. and impound consumers’ vehicle.
The FDCPA lawsuit alleged that CRS called consumers three or four times a day even after consumers repeatedly asked CRS to stop calling them.
Consumers allege that CRS continued to call wife at work although they both requested that CRS stop calling wife at her place of employment. The husband alleged that CRS’ debt collector yelled and cursed at him and told husband that he has the power to do anything. When husband asked CRS to stop calling his wife at work, CRS allegedly replied “I can do whatever the f**k I want because I have the f**king power to do anything and take anything from you people”.
Husband also alleged that CRS’ collector also left a message on his voice mail threatening to contact wife’s work place if she did not get a hold of him within the next 30 minutes.
“Yet More Abuse Including Threats to Issue 1099’s”
An Alabama consumer alleged that Commercial Recovery Systems’ representative falsely threatened him — if he filed bankruptcy, CRS would file a 1099 form on consumer and consumer would be unable to draw Social Security because the IRS and government would have a record of the 1099.
According to the Alabama FDCPA lawsuit, CRS responded to consumer’s refusal to send CRS the money immediately by Western Union by calling consumer a “smart ass”. Not surprisingly, the consumer alleged that he told CRS that the conversation was over and hung up. Despite this unequivocal statement, CRS called twice more that day and engaged the consumer in two conversations.
A couple of days later, CRS allegedly called consumer wanting to know how consumer was going to send the money. Consumer told CRS that he was not sending anything until he received an agreement in writing. According to the consumer, CRS’ representative complained that he would not get the money by the first of the month and told the consumer to send the money and he would send the agreement to consumer. Consumer still refused. CRS’ representative alleged said he would fax the agreement where consumer could go and pick it up but consumer refused because he did not want his personal information faxed anywhere. The FDCPA lawsuit alleged that, at that point CRS’ representative got mad and said “Keep your f—— money, I don’t give a d–” and hung up on consumer.
The FDCPA complaint alleged that CRS called him because the caller understood that consumer had a problem with the representative who called him recently.
The caller transferred the call to a lady who send that she would send the consumer an agreement in writing if consumer would go through with the offer that he made to the previous representative. Understandably, the consumer alleged that he told the lady that he was not sure what he needed to do now and that he may need to get an attorney. Plaintiff said that he asked her who she worked for and she said Hyundai Motor. (The account was a Kia account). Consumer alleged that he asked the lady if she worked for Hyundai and not a collection agency and she replied that she was trying to collect the debt for Hyundai. The consumer said that he asked her who she worked for again and she finally said “Commercial Recovery Systems.”
For more information about FDCPA lawsuits against CRS and CRS’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, click on the link below to proceed to PAGE 2 using the button at the bottom of this article or click HERE.
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