Florida consumers alleged that Academy Collection Services (now known as Monarch Recovery Management) spoke with them several times but harassed them by also calling the consumer’s 78 year old mother and their teenage son and telling both of them about the existence of the debt.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) complaint alleged that Monarch Recovery collection agency called consumers’ 78 year old mother and disclosed the existence of the debt. Consumers next allege that Monarch Recovery collection agency called them and accused them of being thieves.
The Florida consumers alleged that Monarch Recovery called them the next day and threatened that a final decision would be rendered, and that avoiding the situation would not make it go away.
The Fair Debt complaint alleged that, the next day, Monarch Recovery collection agency left a message on their answering machine and two messages on the mother’s answering machine instructing consumers to return Monarch Recovery’s calls.
The Florida consumers allege that, the next day, Monarch Recovery collection agency again threatened that a final decision had to be rendered by 5:00 p.m. The Fair Debt complaint alleges that Monarch Recovery also left a message with consumer’s mother on the same day.
The Florida consumers alleged that two days later husband “begged” Monarch Recovery to cease the harassment and Monarch Recovery denied that anything illegal or harassing was taking place.
The Fair Debt complaint alleged that, two days later, Monarch Recovery collection agency contacted consumer’s mother and demanded that mother have consumers return Monarch Recovery’s call. The Florida complaint alleges that Monarch Recovery also called them on the same day.
The Florida consumers alleged that Monarch Recovery collection agency called them eight times during the next ten days.
According to the Fair Debt complaint, Monarch Recovery contacted the consumers and immediately hung up. The Florida consumers next allege that Monarch Recovery contacted their teenage son and disclosed the existence and amount of the debt.
The Florida consumers allege that Monarch Recovery called on the next day which was Good Friday and that consumers requested that Monarch Recovery leave them alone for the day to respect their religious beliefs. The consumers allege that Monarch Recovery’s response was that they did not care about consumers’ beliefs.
The facts alleged by the Florida consumers are just that — alleged facts. The alleged facts were never proven or disproven in court. The telephone calls that consumers complained of allegedly occurred between March 19, 2007, and April 16, 2007.
The alleged facts illustrate some important features of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and how the FDCPA is intended to protect consumers from harassment.
Collection agencies should not call a consumer’s relatives unless the call is to obtain “location information”. Even when a collection agency is seeking location information, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits a collection agency from disclosing the existence of a debt.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices act prohibits collection agencies from calling consumers at a time or place which the collection agency knows to be inconvenient. Once a consumer indicates that the consumer is observing a religious holiday, the conversation should terminate without argument or disparaging the consumer’s faith.
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act both prohibit collection agencies from falsely accusing consumers of a crime. If a collection agency falsely accused consumers of being thieves, the collection agency probably violated the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act as well as the FDCPA.
I am a Florida debt harassment lawyer who sues collection agencies and other debt collectors.
If you are a Florida resident who is receiving calls from collection agencies and are not sure about your rights and responsibilities, please feel free to contact me by completing the Collection Agency Harassment form in the right hand column. If you live in Florida, you are also welcome to call my office and I will contact you to discuss your situation and how I may be able to help you.
If you do not live in Florida, I will try to provide you with contact information for a debt harassment lawyer who is licensed in your state and maintains an office in your state.
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