Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Tape Recordings Nail Debt Collectors In Flagrant Violations of Federal Law
The post you are about to read might be a first in the history of the Internet. It presents tape-recorded proof of mainstream debt collectors violating federal law in an effort to collect a "debt" they could not even prove was owed.
In fact, these collectors could not even prove the alleged debtor held the card in question. How do I know that? I was the alleged debtor--and discovery in a federal lawsuit showed that the collectors could not prove I ever had the American Express card in question, much less that I owed a debt on it.
A corrupt U.S. District Judge named Abdul Kallon repeatedly made unlawful rulings in my lawsuit, allowing collectors to wriggle off the hook. President Barack Obama appointed Kallon to the federal bench from the corporate Birmingham law firm Bradley Arant, at the suggestion of former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis--and that probably explains why Kallon is a toady for debt collectors and the financial sector.
We, however, are prepared to hold collectors accountable in the court of public opinion, with the first in a series of videos that show how bad actors in the debt-collection industry try to pull scams on consumers. (See video at the end of this post.) We don't have to worry about Abdul Kallon's bogus rulings in the wide-open space of the blogosphere.
Is this post really a first for the Web? Well, I'm not certain about that. I am familiar with several online reports that present direct evidence of debt collectors treating consumers in abusive fashion. One example that immediately comes to mind involved a Texas man named Allen Jones, who was barraged with collection calls that were mind-blowingly vile and racist. Jones wound up winning a $1.5 million judgment against Advanced Call Center Technologies (ACT) in federal court.
I suspect ACT comes under the heading of a rogue debt-collector--and there are quite a few of those out there. It should be noted, however, that the company has a fairly classy looking Web site, so maybe it rises a little above the level of "rogue" in the collection world.
Without question, the violations I am about to reveal are more subtle than the ones Allen Jones experienced. And they clearly come from a mainstream collector. The calls are from the Birmingham law firm of Ingram and Associates, which was hired by NCO, which is owned by JPMorgan Chase. And JPMorgan Chase is the largest private corporation in the world.
You can't get much more mainstream in the financial sector than that.
Does that make our tape recordings unique on the Web? Maybe not, but I'm pretty sure our evidence is at least unusual. It shows irrefutable proof of a high-end collector--if there is such a thing--stooping to unethical and unlawful tactics in an effort to con me out of money they could not prove I owed. And again, this was on a card they could not prove I had ever possessed.
What's the issue in this first video? Here is the key one: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) states that it is unlawful for a collector to communicate with a third party about a debt, other than to get information about a consumer's location (15 U.S.C. 1692b and 15 U.S.C. 1692c). But Ingram and Associates collector Tracy Mize--working on behalf of NCO and JPMorgan Chase--says right off the bat that she had been talking with my wife about various payment options on the debt.
That presents a slight problem. Even by the collector's own admissions, the alleged card was in my name only. Mrs. Schnauzer was not involved in any way, so she was a third party and they could lawfully only ask her how to locate me. (Her answer on that evening would have been: "He's out in the front yard, mowing the grass.")
Instead, they pried all sorts of personal legal and financial information from a non-party to the alleged debt. At about the 5:20 mark in the video below, Mize talks about all the details from my wife that were now in an account, which had nothing to do with her. You can read the pertinent sections of the FDCPA at the links above and see that Mize's actions were blatantly illegal. And she was working for Ingram and Associates, which was working for NCO, which is owned by JPMorgan Chase. This scam goes right to the top of big finance in the United States.
Welcome to the unseemly real world of debt collectors. The following video shows in stark details just one way they will try to scam consumers. There are many more, and we have more videos on the way.