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Please Help, Academy Services harassment, I'm confused..

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Okay. I'll try to start at the beginning. I have a citicard that I defaulted on. I 100% admit that. Last month I got a phone call from a man by the name of John Britton. He talked really fast and threw out a lot of legal words like litigation, garnishment, subpoena, etc. He made himself sound like an attorney to me. He didn't tell me he was from Academy Services. He said some attorneys office, but then later in the call just said Academy when I asked where he was from. An internet search of the number told me it was ACS. But I was scared at the time so he convinced me to sign up on a payment plan that I couldn't afford and to give him my check numbers. I told him $400 every other week was too much but he said he didn't care that I need to come up with it if I want to stay out of court.

After hanging up with him I called citicards, they told me to just send them the money and then when the account gets sent back to them that they will see I've been making payments and that they will work with me.

So I call this John Britton guy back to tell him to cancel the checks. *magically* I'm not able to get through to him.

Well, 5 days before the check is due to clear someone, gee I wonder who, wipes out my bank account. So the check that Academy Services submitted doesn't clear. It bounces. The very next day I get a phone call on my home phone. He just says its John Britton and that I need to call him back. Doesn't ask for me, doesn't say much other than that and his phone number.

Then I get the following call on my cell that same day:

"This message is for (my name) This is John Britton calling from the final adjustment department from ACS regarding your returned check, the bounced check. Unfortunately i have to report this as obviously an evasive tactic to not resolve the debt. And unfortunately someone gave you bad advice or you wrote a check that you couldn't make good which is just as wrong. This is quite serious you need to return the call and get this resolved. number is (his number)"

Then today I get this call on my house phone:

"This message is for (my name) This is John Britton calling in regards to the returned check, look this situation needs to be resolved. You need to address this issue, There is no way around it, whats done is done. You shouldn't have done it but you did. So now you need to face up to it and resolve the issue and to do that you need to return my call. Its John Britton at (his number)"

And immediately after that I get this call on my cell phone:

"This message is for (my name) This is John Britton from the final adjustment department of ACS. I know you recognize my name by now. I'm sure you have it memorized. The situation needs to be resolved. The check was returned. There is a serious issue here that needs to be addressed and resolved. You bouncing a check is not a good thing, not going to get into the legalities right now. but you really do need to rectify the situation and I'm running out of time and to be flat out honest with you, patience. So do the right thing and call me back. If they do proceed its going to stay with you for a long long time and your very very young, don't recommend it. It's John Britton at (his number)"


What is upsetting me the most is that he is leaving this on my voice mail that anyone in my house could here. He doesn't give any disclaimer or anything. Just blurts it out. I'm not sure what to do. Should I call him back? The tone in his voice mails are NASTY. Like he is scolding a 5 year old. I'm so angry I want to call back and ask him where the hell he gets off leaving messages like that on my phone. But I know that won't help anything. I'm just trying to figure it out.




You SHOULD NEVER give out your financial information to a debt collector. They will empty your account. You need to close out this account and open another one. You then should send him a DV letter along with a limited C&D letter advising him to contact you by US mail only.

Sub: #1 posted on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 23:18

Unregistered


hi anc--

ok, first things first....you need to go to your bank IMMEDIATELY. The first thing you need to do there is dispute the withdrawal that cleaned you out. By law they cannot do what they did, it is against federal law. So, dispute it ASAP, the bank will look into the matter and you stand a good chance of the bank actually putting that money back into your account.

The very next thing you need to do is to find out from the bank exactly who took that money out, and exactly where it went. The instant you can let us know who it was, please post it up here. If it was this same company, then you have them in a bad spot--ESPECIALLY if you still have the voicemails they have left for you complaining about the bounced check. PLEASE tell me you still have those messages on tape!!

Now, my guess here is that ACS took the money, and now they are playing like they didnt do anything because they are trying to get more money from you. Believe me when I tell you, this is 100% illegal on their part no matter if you owe the debt or not. Get to the bank and handle those two things, and then get back to us here, or you can send me a private message if you prefer. Either way, try to relax because we can help you sort this mess out--and in the end, they now owe YOU money for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act! We'll get to more on that after you get the bank issue sorted out, but as it stands right now, I see at least three violations of federal law....there will most likely be more when this is finished, but just from what youve said so far thats at least how many I see.

Get back to us once that is handled and we will take the next step based on what you find. And above all, DONT PANIC--they use scare tactics like this to bully people into paying all the time. Luckily, there are plenty of people here that know how to deal with crooks like these.

Sub: #2 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 03:18

skydivr7673 skydivr7673
Moderators Cum Industry Expert
(Posts: 2037 | Credits: )

I went to the bank today. I already closed the account the day all the funds were taken out of it. They said they can't verify who took the money but they presented an electronic check that I supposedly agreed too. Even if ACS DIDN'T take the money (which I doubt, but lets give them benefit of doubt here). Can he legally leave messages like that on my phone lines? Pretty much threatening me and telling me he is running out of patience. And never once going through the debt miranda rights (as I call them).

Sub: #3 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 08:17

anc526 anc526

(Posts: 192 | Credits: )

ANC - what do you mean the bank can't verify who took the money out of your account? The bank should be able to provide you with the name of the payee on the electronic check. Either way, I would dispute it with the bank because you didn't authorize it. Although, come to think of it, if you did give them your account info, they probably did process an electronic check. Was this electronic check for a different amount than what you authorized them to deduct? If so, that is fraud, and I would 1) dispute it with the bank and 2) file complaints with the FTC AND more importantly with your state attorney generals office, because they 1) took more money than you authorized and 2) processed it before the agreed upon date. THESE ARE VIOLATIONS AND YOU CAN SUE THEM IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT.

I would also make sure the bank refunds any overdraft fees for this unauthorized transaction.

Sub: #4 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 08:42

desperatelyseekingsanity desperatelyseekingsanity

(Posts: 1129 | Credits: )

Excerpts from the FDCPA:
In my opinion leaving messages on an answering machine in the nature that he did breaks the following regs:

Section 804 1,2,3 and maybe 5. This falls under Acquisition of location information but leaving a message on an unknown machine or a machine that others have access to would fall under this section I think.

Section 805 a1. I think communicating to a consumer via an answering machine would classify as an unusal place which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer.

Section 805 b. This says they can only communicate with the consumer or lawyer basically and putting sensitive information on an answering machine violates this I think.

Section 807 4 and 7. In my opinion he implies that you broke laws and face criminal action especially in the last phone message you posted. "You bouncing a check is not a good thing, not going to get into the legalities right now. but you really do need to rectify the situation and I'm running out of time and to be flat out honest with you, patience. So do the right thing and call me back. If they do proceed its going to stay with you for a long long time and your very very young, don't recommend it." You did not bounce a check by the way. He posted an unauthorized check.

Section 808 2,3,4. Basically those deal with post dated checks and I think he violated these sections.

???? 803. Definitions
As used in this title????????
(2) The term ???????communication??????? means the conveying of
information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to
any person through any medium.


???? 804. Acquisition of location information
Any debt collector communicating with any person other
than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information
about the consumer shall????????
(1) identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting
location information concerning the consumer, and,
only if expressly requested, identify his employer;
(2) not state that such consumer owes any debt;
(3) not communicate with any such person more than once
unless requested to do so by such person or unless
the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier
response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and
that such person now has correct or complete location
information;
(4) not communicate by post card;
(5) not use any language or symbol on any envelope or
in the contents of any communication effected by the
mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector
is in the debt collection business or that the communication
relates to the collection of a debt; and
(6) after the debt collector knows the consumer is represented
by an attorney with regard to the subject debt
and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such
attorney????????s name and address, not communicate with
any person other than that attorney, unless the attorney
fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to
the communication from the debt collector.


???? 805. Communication in connection with debt collection
(a) COMMUNICATION WITH THE CONSUMER GENERALLY.
Without the prior consent of the consumer given
directly to the debt collector or the express permission of
a court of competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may not
communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection
of any debt????????
(1) at any unusual time or place or a time or place known
or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances
to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the
convenient time for communicating with a consumer
is after 8 o????????clock and before 9 o????????clock
local time at the consumer????????s location;

(b) COMMUNICATION WITH THIRD PARTIES. Except as
provided in section 804, without the prior consent of the
consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express
permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as
reasonably necessary to effectuate a postjudgment judicial
remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection
with the collection of any debt, with any person other
than a consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency
if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of
the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.


???? 806. Harassment or abuse
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural
consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any
person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without
limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following
conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal
means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property
of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language
the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer
or reader.
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly
refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting
agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section
603(f) or 604(3) of this Act.
(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment
of the debt.
(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person
in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously
with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the
called number.
(6) Except as provided in section 804, the placement of
telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the
caller????????s identity.


???? 807. False or misleading representations
A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading
representation or means in connection with the collection
of any debt. Without limiting the general application
of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this
section:
(1) The false representation or implication that the debt
collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with
the United States or any State, including the use of any
badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof.
(2) The false representation of????????
(A) the character, amount, or legal status of any debt; or
(B) any services rendered or compensation which may
be lawfully received by any debt collector for the
collection of a debt.
(3) The false representation or implication that any individual
is an attorney or that any communication is from
an attorney.
(4) The representation or implication that nonpayment of
any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of
any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment,
or sale of any property or wages of any person unless
such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor
intends to take such action.
(5) The threat to take any action that cannot legally be
taken or that is not intended to be taken.
(6) The false representation or implication that a sale,
referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt shall
cause the consumer to????????
(A) lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt;
or
(B) become subject to any practice prohibited by this
title.
(7) The false representation or implication that the consumer
committed any crime or other conduct in order
to disgrace the consumer.


???? 808. Unfair practices
A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable
means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Without limiting
the general application of the foregoing, the following
conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The collection of any amount (including any interest,
fee, charge, or expense incidental to the principal obligation)
unless such amount is expressly authorized by
the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law.
(2) The acceptance by a debt collector from any person of
a check or other payment instrument postdated by more
than five days unless such person is notified in writing
of the debt collector????????s intent to deposit such check or
instrument not more than ten nor less than three business
days prior to such deposit.
(3) The solicitation by a debt collector of any postdated
check or other postdated payment instrument for the
purpose of threatening or instituting criminal prosecution.
(4) Depositing or threatening to deposit any postdated
check or other postdated payment instrument prior to
the date on such check or instrument.
(5) Causing charges to be made to any person for communications
by concealment of the true propose of
the communication. Such charges include, but are not
limited to, collect telephone calls and telegram fees.
(6) Taking or threatening to take any nonjudicial action to
effect dispossession or disablement of property if????????
(A) there is no present right to possession of the property
claimed as collateral through an enforceable
security interest;
(B) there is no present intention to take possession of
the property; or
(C) the property is exempt by law from such dispossession
or disablement.

Sub: #5 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 09:09

DOLLARSandSINCE DOLLARSandSINCE
Moderators Cum Industry Expert
(Posts: 1078 | Credits: )

I agree with Desperately. The bank HAS to be able to give you information about who those funds were paid to. You might need to talk to the branch manager, instead of just to a teller. Definitely, dispute the withdrawal because even if you did agree to pay, they took it out before they were supposed to, and (it sounds like) they also took more than you agreed to.

Once you dispute the withdrawal, I bet the bank will be able to figure out who the money went to!

Sub: #6 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 09:14

alias1958 alias1958

(Posts: 1230 | Credits: )

Good info Dollars! And Thanks Alias! I can always count on your support!! ;)

Dollars...if they CA is in violation of all those items, would you recommend that the OP find a good fdcpa attorney and let them sue for the OP? And the fees, do they come out of the settlement or does the attorney sue for their fees seperately?

Sub: #7 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 09:41

desperatelyseekingsanity desperatelyseekingsanity

(Posts: 1129 | Credits: )

If the OP still has the messages on tape then it certainly wouldn't hurt to float it in front of some attorneys. I believe you can only get 1k max for all violations of the fdcpa combined plus any actual damages sustained. You just need to make one stick. It would be important to find violations of the FCRA as well. FCRA violations are 1k per violation I believe. I am not sure if attorney fees could be attached but it would certainly be worth investigating. If you are in a one party state then it would also be good to start taping all conversations you have with this idiot. I suspect you could catch him in more violations including FCRA violations if you did that. If you are in a two party state then just tell him you are recording the call and if he does not agree then he must hang up.

Sub: #8 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 10:14

DOLLARSandSINCE DOLLARSandSINCE
Moderators Cum Industry Expert
(Posts: 1078 | Credits: )

Thanks for all the information. I'm going to look up a good fdcpa attorney. The very first time he called he made himself out to be a lawyer. Too bad I didn't tape that one. When I picked up he was talking really fast and kept referring to law offices, attorney, subpoena, etc. I really thought he was a lawyer. Isn't that illegal too? Portraying yourself as an attorney if you aren't?

Sub: #9 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 13:29

anc526 anc526

(Posts: 192 | Credits: )

Yeah that is a violation also. You would need it recorded though to make it stick probably.

Sub: #10 posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 13:34

DOLLARSandSINCE DOLLARSandSINCE
Moderators Cum Industry Expert
(Posts: 1078 | Credits: )

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