Stephens & Michaels Associates
While they are located in Salem, New Hampshire, Stephens & Michaels Associates is licensed to collect debts in all 50 states. The company offers a variety of debt collection programs for small and large businesses, including early collection, collection of charged-off debt and collecting both in statute and out of statue debts. The company has also racked up an impressive 20 court cases filed against it since 2009 for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Some consumers who have dealt with Stephens & Michaels refer to the company as a “law firm” and indicate that when they called the telephone number given to them as a contact number on a debt collection call, the telephone was answered with “Stephens & Michaels Law Firm.”
Other consumers allege that Stephens & Michaels Associates use illegal tactics in their attempts to collect on delinquent debt. A number of consumers report having been threatened with such things as “they’ll come and get your car” and “we can take your paycheck and your house if you don’t pay up right now.”
Many of the lawsuits allege that Stephens & Michaels does not follow regulations requiring them to verify debts they are attempting to collect upon, that their notification letters do not include all of the required notifications of rights, and that the company does not respond to request for debt validation or investigate disputed debts. In at least one case, a consumer alleged that a Stephens & Michaels debt collector informed her that she could not verify the account because she did not have that information and refused to communicate in writing with the consumer or to contact the original creditor for full details on the account being collected.
Finally, there are multiple allegations, including statements included in lawsuits filed against the company, that agents for Stephens & Michaels routinely misinform consumers about their rights and about the laws regarding debt and credit reporting. In at least one case, a collection agent allegedly told the consumer that a time-barred debt would never drop off her credit report because the company would circulate it among their various credit agencies and each one would report it as a new debt every time it appeared.
Stop Stephens & Michaels Associates Harassment
The best way to combat misinformation and disinformation from debt collectors is to know your rights and to assert them. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives you the right to sue a debt collector if they abuse them. Even if you choose not to sue, however, you can protect yourself against harassment and de-fang the threats that they may use in an attempt to intimidate you into paying.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector may not threaten you with legal action that they are not prepared to carry out or that they cannot legally carry out. Some of the most potent threats that debt collectors use are threats of garnishment, repossession and lawsuits. Most people will agree to make payments, sometimes on debts that they have already paid in full, rather than face a lawsuit. Here are the facts:
If a debt collection agency is attempting to collect on a debt that is past the statute of limitations in your state, they are barred from using the courts to attempt collection. Any threat to take you to court, garnish your wages or get a judgment against you for an out of statute bill is an illegal threat. They can’t take you to court and know they can’t take you to court. They may continue other attempts to collect that debt, but the courts are closed to them. If they imply or state otherwise, they are in violation of the FDCPA.
If a debt collector is using illegal and deceptive practices in their attempts to collect a debt from you, you should immediately report them to the FTC, which regulates the debt collection industry, and to your state attorney general. If enough people complain, the state or the FTC may take action against the company and force them to comply. You also have the right to sue the debt collection agency for violations of the FDCPA. If a judge agrees that they have violated the law, the judge can order them to pay you statutory damages of up to $1,000, actual damages and legal costs.
Stephens & Michaels Associates Contact Information
Stephens & Michaels Associates
PO Box 109
Salem NH 03079
Lemberg & Associates’ team
of consumer attorneys is highly
skilled and ready to help you
with debt collector abuse.
If you have been the victim of harassment or illegal or unfair debt collection practices, Lemberg & Associates will discuss your options with you and protect your rights. For more information, contact Lemberg & Associates today at .
Learn More About Us