BBB Warns About Collection Company With F Rating Targeting Local Residents

  
     
June 14, 2010

DAYTON, OH – June 4, 2010 - Recently, your Better Business Bureau received a call from a Dayton woman about a collection company that has been contacting her. A representative from Gateway Recovery Associates suddenly began calling her to make payments on a debt she was unaware of. The gentleman said he was with the company’s check fraud division and needed her to make a payment of $400. He threatened there was a warrant out for her arrest and asked her for banking information to set up a payment plan. Initially, the woman gave her checking account information to the caller. But, realizing it may not have been the wisest action, she closed the account.

Gateway Recovery Associates, located in Kenmore, New York, has an F rating with your BBB, its lowest rating. Reasons for this F rating include:

· Your BBB doesn’t have sufficient information to determine how long this business has been operating

· The company’s failure to respond to four complaints filed against it

· Your BBB doesn’t have sufficient background information on this business

The complaints against the company concern a contract dispute, customer service issue, product issue and refund or exchange issue.

John North says, “Scammers and shady businesses often use scare tactics - like threats of police action - to make you fall for their schemes. Don’t fall for it. Take time to check companies out with your BBB. It could save you time, money and headaches. It’s easy to do. Simply, visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.”

If you’re contacted by a debt collector, your BBB and the Federal Trade Commission offer some advice. Remember, debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices while attempting to collect a debt. For example, they may not:

· use threats of violence or harm against the person, property or reputation;

· publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts (except to a credit bureau);

· use obscene or profane language;

· use phone calls to repeatedly harass you;

· fail to identify themselves on the telephone;

· advertise your debt;

· threaten arrest if you don’t pay your debt;

· say they will seize, garnish, attach or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so, and it’s legal to do so;

· indicate actions, such as a lawsuit, will be taken against you, which legally may not be taken, or which they don’t intend to take;

· collect any amount greater than your debt, unless allowed by law;

· deposit a post-dated check prematurely.

· falsely imply they’re attorneys or government representatives;

· falsely imply you have committed a crime;

· falsely represent they operate or work for a credit bureau;

· misrepresent the amount of your debt;

· misrepresent the involvement of an attorney in collecting a debt;

· indicate papers being sent to you aren’t legal forms when they are;

· give false credit information about you to anyone;

· send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it isn’t;

· use a false name.

Your Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA) offer the following tips when working with debt collection agencies:

1. Respond when you receive a letter or phone call. Keep an open dialogue. This is your opportunity to present your viewpoint.

2. Keep good records. Keep files of your bank records, history of places lived and worked, and copies of correspondence concerning your debts. If the debt amount is incorrect, you’ll need to be able to show you have made payments.

3. Be honest about what you can afford. Collection agencies will work with you to come up with an achievable payment plan. Only agree to a plan you can stick with to avoid further collection efforts.

4. Speak up if the debt isn’t yours. You have the right to request further information if you’re contacted about a debt you don’t recognize. If the debt truly isn’t yours, be prepared to explain. If you have information as to whose debt it is, share it.

5. Have a lawyer contact the collection agency if possible. Once this step is taken, the collection agency cannot communicate directly with you. Be sure to give the collection agency the name, address and phone number of your attorney so he or she can be in contact.

6. Don’t ignore a court summons, which means you only have a certain time to respond. The paperwork with the summons may contain a court date or instructions on what to do if you dispute the claim. If you think you don’t owe the debt, pay close attention to these papers. If you do owe the debt, contact the law firm that filed the case right away – they want to work with you on a payment plan.

7. Be involved – the outcome is in your hands. If you don’t appear in court or contact the collection agency about repayment, a judgment may be entered against you. Efforts will be made to collect the judgment amount from you, which, depending on your circumstances and what state you live in, can lead to severe consequences, including wage garnishment, bank account attachment and liens on your property.

If you believe a debt collector has violated the law, you may sue in state or federal court within one year from the date of the possible violation. You should also report problems with debt collectors to the Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission. You may also file a complaint with your Better Business Bureau. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

About BBB

BBB, the leader in advancing marketplace trust, is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about BBB.

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