ABC News has posted an article about Bank of America’s questionable judgment used when the company hired a debt collection agency that was caught using obscene language and racist remarks when calling to collect on debts from the bank’s customers.
For example, Alan Jones owed a mere $81 on his Bank of America card and received a call from a debt collector at 6:30 am. A few minutes later the collector called again and left a message that used racist remarks and profanity. The calls persisted even after Jones informed the collection agency that he had paid the balance. He said the representative from the collection agency acted like they had the power to contact him as many times as they wanted. Luckily, Jones had taped and saved all the messages and used it as evidence in a lawsuit he filed against the collection agency. He won the case and received more than $1.5 million.
The collections agency in question is Advanced Call Center Technologies (ACT), Philadelphia- based company that provides debt collection services for several large corporations. One of the collectors who had been contacting Jones was actually a supervisor at the company who was hired 7 months after being released from prison.
“They lived a thug life,” said one of Jones’ lawyers, Mark Frenkel, of the ACT operators. “They have a prison mentality.”
Despite the verdict of Jones’ case, Bank of America continued to use ACT. BoA accepted the explanation that the offensive calls were made by “rogue employees” until a copy of the messages was given to the CEO of BoA. He found them to be unacceptable.
Two days later, BoA informed ACT that their services were no longer needed, blaming issues “surrounding the economy.” Since then, ACT has made changes in its management .
“I worked very hard to build this company and our management team and it is unthinkable that somebody would call somebody and do that,” Debbas told ABC News. He declined to identify other major corporate clients but said they continue to his firm’s collection services.
“Everybody understands in this business how hard it is, everybody was outraged by what they heard, and I was indignant,” said Debbas
According to the Federal Trade Commission, debt collectors and their tactics have been the main source of complaints for the past three years. In the first 6 months of this year alone, the FTC had received 65,000 complaints about wrongful debt collector tactics.
If you have had problems with debt collectors, or have been harassed by one, and have questions or concerns, feel free to contact us through our website or by calling 205-879-2447.
You can join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.