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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Whataburger Has a Serious Beef With the Bullying Tactics of a Big Debt Collector


If you are an everyday American consumer and get a hankering for  fast food, you might want to consider a run to your local Whataburger.

The Texas-based company deserves your support for its willingness to stand up to one of the biggest bullies in the debt-collection industry. In fact, this debt collector is even bigger than most Americans realize because, unbeknownst to many, it is owned by a banking behemoth.

We are talking about NCO, a company that is based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, and owned (in a roundabout way) by JPMorgan Chase.

As we noted in a recent post, Chase is the largest private corporation in the world, and it made a quiet entrance into the disreputable debt-collection business by purchasing NCO in 2006. It's almost as if Chase is embarrassed by its association with NCO--and it should be. Chase bought the company in a backdoor sort of way, and a couple of byzantine transactions since then seem designed to hide who really resides behind the curtain at NCO.

Mrs. Schnauzer and I have firsthand experience with battling NCO and its corrupt minions, so we were delighted to learn that Whataburger wasn't going to sit back and take abuse. What happened? Here is how reporter Patrick Danner describes it in an article titled "Court Case Not the Way Whataburger Likes It" for The Houston Chronicle:

Everyone hates harassing calls from unrelenting debt collectors, even the folks at Whataburger Restaurants. 
Exasperated officials at the San Antonio-based burger chain have gone to court in an attempt to stop persistent collections calls made to its corporate headquarters to get an unidentified employee to pay up on a debt allegedly owed. 
Whataburger last week sued NCO Financial Systems, saying the collection efforts of one of the nation's largest debt collectors "amount to a campaign of harassment against Whataburger that is unreasonable . . . and reckless."

Imagine that. A company not only stands up to a harassing debt collector, it also stands up for one of its employees. Who saw that one coming in postmodern America?

I hope the fine folks at Whataburger, and their lawyers, know who has the deep pockets behind NCO. It's JPMorgan Chase, and this might be a fine time to out Jamie Dimon's underlings as the backers of a major sleazoid in the debt-collection game.

How do you figure out who's pulling the strings at NCO--and who has vicarious liability in the Whataburger case? Well, it isn't easy, but we will try to explain:

In November 2006, a company called One Equity Partners completed the acquisition of NCO. One Equity Partners is the private investment arm of JPMorgan Chase, so that seems to make the connection clear cut. But things got murky earlier this year, and here is how: In April, NCO merged with APAC Customer Services, and both now operate under an umbrella company called Expert Global Solutions (EGS).

What in the heck just happened? Who's on first? Well, this clears it up: One Equity Partners owns EGS, and that completes the circle back to JPMorgan Chase.

If you need a scorecard to keep track of this shell game, here's how it would look: NCO merged with APAC; they both are neatly tucked under EGS, which is owned by One Equity Partners, which is owned by JPMorgan Chase.

That means Whataburger, on behalf of an employee, is taking on the largest private corporation in the world. I know who I will be rooting for in that fight.

The writers and readers at The Consumerist also seem to be pulling for Whataburger. A report by Mary Beth Quirk explains one of the many ugly secrets behind the debt-collection business:

Debt collectors know where you work, so companies will go after people there in an effort to tick off employers enough that the individual will pay up to make the calls stop. But Whataburger isn't sitting for that. It's seeking unspecified actual damages to cover the toll charges for the long-distance calls, and punitive damages as well 
Whataburger claims that since at least 27 calls were made after the cease-and-desist, NCO is in violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It wants up to $1,000 for each call. 
Whatanemployer, that Whataburger.

11 comments:

e.a.f. said...

aren't there laws which prohibit this type of behaviour. In some places you are not permitted to call a debtor at their place of work. That simple. Why inflect injury on the employer. There is more of a chance the employee/debtor is fired & then no body every gets paid.

It is nice to see Wantaburger taking the stand it has. Good on them.

I guess this is how the rich get richer & its nice to see a nice big company like JPMorgan outed for their bad behaviour.

legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f.--Yes, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) forbids this kind of behavior, but this case shows you that some debt collectors have no respect for the law. They are a brazen bunch. This kind of tactic apparently tends to work because the employee gets afraid of being fired and winds up paying the debt collector--whether the debt actually is owed or not.

Robby Scott Hill said...

It's important to remember that most debt collectors are THIRD PARTIES to whom the debtor never owed anything! Folks like my friends at Nadler & Associates in Birmingham (who collect for JPMorgan Chase by the way) purchase debt for pennies on the dollar. Even if they only manage to grab a few hundred dollars from any one debtor in the portfolio of dozens of bad debts they purchase, the 3rd party collector has turned a handsome profit & the original debtor they purchased the obligation from gets more than they would have received from the bankruptcy trustee. Debt collectors fund judicial re-election campaigns & judges return the favor by doing their best to schedule all of the hearings for all of the debtors in their portfolio for any given judicial circuit on the same day. This makes it affordable for any well-connected Birmingham law firm to service accounts statewide. They screw Marshall County residents on Tuesday & get a motel room in Guntersville. Then, it's off to screw Madison County on Tuesday before doing the less heavily populated counties of Morgan & Limestone on Wednesday & Thursday. It's a racket & if you have a license to practice law, you can legally engage in extortion!

legalschnauzer said...

You nailed it, Rob. And chances are, especially on these third-party debts, the collector has zero paperwork to prove that the debt is owed. That's why they violate the FDCPA by resorting to scare tactics--they know they can't prove their case in court. Of course, a lot of alleged debtors never show up for court, so the collector gets a default judgment. It really is legal extortion.

David in S. aAabama said...

I wrote back to a 3rd party debt collector somewhere in Nebraska telling them that I had not entered into any contractual agrement with teir firm. I attached their letter to my letter and told them they should shove it up their corporate rectum. I enclosed some lead weights like they use to balance car tires. I sealed the envelope with no stamp and no return address. They had to pay postage due. Never heard from them again.

legalschnauzer said...

David:

I like your style.

Robby Scott Hill said...

We have much to learn from our Muslim friends. Hawala prevents the Jews from using our own money against us. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawala

jeffrey spruill said...

If I have a debt problem I just tell them David W. Bouchard is picking up the tab.

I mean he owes me Mr. Schnauzer!

Next to the last on this list:

David Wayne Bouchard, Esq.
Member at Large

http://www.vsb.org/site/about/judicial-nominations/

Anonymous said...

I love this. I absolutely love this. Not only is the burger business in America standing against the "debt" collector(s), but here the people are also standing up and saying what really needs to be said and heard by all Americans:

THERE IS NO DEBT. Start with this fact, that JP Morgan Chase and ITS' parasitic "rent-a-lawyers" are a SERIOUSLY BIGGER THAN GOD AND BADDER THAN SATAN, criminal racket.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, U.S. Constitution - MONEY.

We as Americans coin our own money.

The FEDERAL RESERVE SYNDICATE, yes it is a racket, THE JEWISH MAFIOSO. Louis Brandeis is the culprit, staunch Zionist Jewish Mafioso with all the usual suspects, see Geithner, et al.

According to the historians the "lineages," are the ugliest SPIRITS, that is, the ROMANS, were the dirty BANDITO ITALIAN MAFIOSO "PIRATES" now what calls itself "Blue Blood England."

Handing the POPE ROMAN SPIRIT BATON to the "Jewish Holy Dressers." We do not have a lot to look forward to, other than pray for more WHATABURGERS.

In Oregon, US Bank's attorneys sued me in a Third Party claim, UNIFUND. I could not believe this to be true. YES, FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR, "debt is purchased by lawyers." Daniel Gordon sued me for Unifund and US Bank sued me for Unifund. Unifund is A JEWISH MAFIOSO LAUNDERING MACHINE FOR ISRAEL - WELL PROVEN.

I prevailed in the Court of Appeals against Unifund.

UNIFUND and ALL THE DEBT COLLECTORS IN THE US, well they saw this coming. There were literally DEBT FAIRS in America in this time to cash in on the suffering of all who do not understand we are considered the FED'S "CATTLE," that is, "Goyim."

THERE IS NO DEBT. The "Fed" sells us computer fraud and charges usury interest into perpetuity, and this is indeed a criminal racket and high crime against the U.S. Constitution.

Robby, you are correct, lawyers actually pledge to collect the "DEBT" and should they, well then gravy train. The lawyers are NOT out any "investment" other than a pledge to collect the "debt."

BECAUSE THERE IS NO DEBT, the CHARGE OFF was when the "debt" entered into the ledger because the profit in DERIVATIVES, already zillions of "credits" earned on the alleged "borrower of debt."

DERIVATIVES? Make believe money to make believe the Bigger than God and Badder than Satan Fed Jewish Mafioso is the richest IT on earth.

"Elegant Technology," and "Social Credit," has been in operation for centuries. We The People have been severely duped.

Anonymous said...

"Algorithm/s"

"Financial Innovators" use this "science" to dupe us.

The Federal Reserve Syndicate, Fed, does not allow any "money" to be in the U.S. absent tracking and tracing and and all the "digits."

"Elegant Technology," look it up, is already a system functioning, and that is the "Too Big To Fail," in reality. It cannot fail because the computer generates the keystroke "monies."

The "debt" is entered into the "ledger" as a "credit," and thus INSTANT CANCELLATION any alleged debt.

The pretend debt is pretend "SECURITIZED."

BIGGER THAN GOD AND BADDER THAN SATAN "WORDS" to fool the people into thinking and feeling dumber than the Bandito Mafioso Holy Dresser "Chosen."

JPMorgan CHASE and ALL ITS' Banditos, Mafiosos, liars, cheaters, killers indiscriminately of any and all "useless eaters," need to be arrested.

How do downtrodden Americans, poisoned with fluoride in the water to our skies filled with chemicals, narcotics on the streets and pharmacies ..

... and intentionally beaten into incredible submission to not have a will to thrive, even survival is a long reach?

How do we grow our spirits great enough to take back our right to click our own mouses on our own computers and honor our right to a U.S. Constitutional social contract?

Anonymous said...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in speeches not rewritten, talks about the stranglehold on humans for the past couple of centuries. He names the City of London, Bank of England, Bauer / Rothschild and also the US Rockefeller [JP Morgan Chase].

Iran does not charge interest, and usury is a serious crime in all of Islam. Thus, Israel vs. Iran.

The film, On Defamation, by Yoav Shamir is enlightening with respect to a deeper insight into the art of lending money, etc.