In fact one recently filed lawsuit against General Revenue Corporation may be of particular interest to you --especially if you have a student loan that may be in default.
General Revenue Corporation, a subsidiary of Sallie Mae, has been allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by contacting debtor's via their cell phone while using automated dialer's and leaving prerecorded messages. Of course, General Revenue denies using automated systems and claims they make their collection calls manually.
Why would General Revenue deny making automated calls to cell phones?
Automated calls to your cell phone without permission from you can violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). There are stiff damages at stake if the court finds the TCPA violation was negligent, and if the court finds violations were willful --they are much stiffer. Alabama Consumer Law attorney John Watt's says;
"General Revenue Corporation claims it did not use auto dialer's and did not make automated calls or leave prerecorded messages, but instead the calls to our client were made manually. We have dealt with this type of claim before and have never found that it holds water but I am curious if any of you have received automated calls from General Revenue Corporation on an allegedly defaulted student loan."
If you have any info that may help Alabama Consumer Law, and their client, hold General Revenue accountable for any alleged unlawful debt collection practices, please contact them by using their contact page here: General Revenue Case or by calling their office at 205-879-2447.
Recently filed lawsuit statistics show that more and more, consumers are taking the fight to the collection agencies and not tolerating harassment, suffering silently or waiting for arbitration that's stacked against them from the start. In the last two weeks of July alone there were 563 different collection agencies dragged into court as a result of unfair practices. Keep in mind that those are agencies, not individual lawsuits, and that all of those suits were filed across the nation within a two week period. Even if some of the lawsuits filed against these agencies don't turn out in the consumers' favor, the sheer volume of legal action being taken against debt collectors that manipulate the law and abuse consumer trust sends a clear message that consumers are not willing to sit by and take in anymore.
It gets better. Two major offenders have even started backing down, stopping collection work completely in the state of West Virginia as a result of a settlement reached with the state's Attorney General, Darrell McGraw.
The collection agencies, Northtown Capital Associates Inc. and Interstate Check Systems Inc., were investigated by the Attorney General's office for collecting debts in the state without a license or surety bond as required by state tax law. The debts themselves originated from an online lender known as Payday Yes, a company that had previously been investigated by the state and had agreed to cease lending in West Virginia and had supposedly closed any open accounts from within the state. As part of the settlement agreement, the agencies are paying a $5000 fine to the state and issuing more than $11,000 in refunds. Debts that had been owed by those living in West Virginia are also being cancelled so that no further collection attempts are made.
Of course, not everything is good news. A federal judge recently approved a settlement agreement for Encore Capital Group and its subsidiaries Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Midland Funding, LLC. While this may not seem bad at first, the $5.7 million amount of the settlement is so low that the average member in the class action lawsuit will receive a paltry $17.38 while legal representation will receive $1.5 million. For those who don't remember, Encore and its Midland properties have been fighting this lawsuit for over three years now as a result of "robo-signing" affidavits to authorize collection on UN-owed or previously paid debts. Attorney Generals of 38 states have opposed the decision, and some state-based lawsuits still stand against Encore and its properties.
It's should come as no surprise to you that the FTC receives more complaints about debt collectors than they do for any other industry under their jurisdiction. Of course given the new FTC guidelines that went into effect on August 29th, allowing debt collectors to contact family members of deceased debtors, I doubt that the numbers of complaints are going to go down --and neither will claims of unfair and abusive debt collection practices.