03 Dec Jacksonville Hotbed for Illegal Collection Activity
As reported in a recent Florida Times Union article, Jacksonville has more than its fair share of collection activity because it hosts call centers for three collection agencies: Bass Prelitigation Services, LLC, Ellis Crosby & Associates and JBC & Associates. As a result, according to Assistant Attorney General James Young, “rogue collectors” are concentrated in Northeast Florida, and area residents are frequently victimized by illegal collection activity.
This past July, Florida’s Attorney General, Bill McCollum, sued Bass Prelitigation Services, Inc. and its related company, Jackson Philips & Associates, as well as the owners of both, Frank and Evelyn Jackson. The lawsuit, first reported in a Bankruptcy Law Network post last July, seeks $1.3 million in penalties plus restitution. In response to the McCollum’s threat of shutting down their business, the Jacksons started a new Georgia based collection agency, States Predisposition Services, Inc., but he is now working with Georgia officials to reign in illegal activity there as well.
The primary concern about collection agencies is their deceit, harassment and intimidation. “Consumers get scared, and they end up paying more than they should,” says Young. It is easy to see why people get scared. They are often threatened with arrest and jail if they do not send the collector money. Debt collectors pose as attorneys, investigators and even F.B.I. agents.
If you get a threatening phone call from someone attempting to collect a debt, get a tape recorder. When the collector calls back, advise him or her that you are recording the conversation. In Florida, both parties must consent to the recording. Amazingly, many collectors will continue to harass, knowing they are on tape, and a lawyer is much more likely to pursue your case if there is an actual recording of the harassment.
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