Columbia Recovery Group, LLC (CRG) is a third-party collection agency that specializes in property management collections. CRG has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) such as threatening to take actions that cannot legally be taken. If you have been contacted by CRG, make sure you understand your rights before taking action.
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According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Columbia Recovery Group, LLC is a legitimate collection agency founded and incorporated in August 2005. The BBB established its profile page about six months later, in February 2006. CRG is listed as a collection agency and credit service that uses the alternate business name, Columbia Debt Recovery.
According to its website, CRG “is a committed group of individuals dedicated to the Property Management and collections industries.” CRG’s mission is to “partner with clients to obtain the best recovery possible, in the best time possible.” CRG values customer service and has “brought together top operations and service managers from debt recovery and multi-family industries to ensure that our firm understands the issues facing your company and your communities.”
Columbia Recovery Group is organized into four departments: collections; legal; sales and service; and management. CRG’s collections department is staffed by debt “recovery experts… required to have at least 5 years’ experience in debt collections and to be…certified collectors.” CRG’s legal department “consists of a fully staffed legal team, including an in-house attorney…who will file suit and garnish the wages, bank accounts, or seize assets of debtors when necessary to enforce the collection.” The sales and service department employs account executives to “call or visit client communities on a regular basis… to ensure…client needs and expectations are being met.” Columbia Recovery Group’s management team “is a dedicated group of professionals who… share a vision and maintain the highest levels of integrity and trust and lead an exceptional team of employees.”
Columbia Recovery Group is a member of ACA (American Collections Associations) and various property management associations and requires its collections staff to be “continually updated on the latest property management legalities and collection guidelines.” However, their site does not provide links or references to consumer protection resources, laws, or enforcement agencies.
As of November 2017, the BBB has given Columbia Recovery Group a rating of F. The BBB has closed 9 complaints against CRG in the past three years, with 1 closed in the past 12 months. Almost all of those complaints allege problems with billing and collections. Since April 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 17 complaints about CRG. Justia lists at least 7 cases of civil litigation involving CRG.
Columbia Recovery Group, LLC
1215 120th Ave., NE, Suite #101
Bellevue, WA 98005
It is illegal for a debt collector to threaten to sue you or garnish your wages. It is also unlikely CRG would sue you for a debt you may not owe or they cannot validate. However, debt collection agencies are known to have summoned debtors to court and garnish wages after a default judgement. Contacting an attorney BEFORE this could possibly happen would be a smart move. We’ve helped thousands of consumers fight back against unscrupulous debt collection harassers. Find out if we can help you too today!
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases
Complaints against Columbia Recovery Group frequently cite problems resulting from rude or hostile customer service representatives.
In August 2015, a complainant indicated that she had been sending monthly payments to CRG, but the payments were not posting to her account. The complainant indicated she had contacted CRG, but the representative indicated that they don’t keep records of deposited checks. The complainant alleged that the general manager “was very unprofessional and insulted” her and did not seem to care that her account was being affected. In response, a CRG representative replied, “Forgive me, but I cannot understand the nature of this complaint. The consumer is concerned that its taking too long to cash her checks? Additional information would be necessary in order for my office to conduct an investigation.” In her rebuttal, the complainant indicated she had provided all the necessary information and had offered to send copies of checks that had been sent, but was told that “if the checks aren’t being cashed then we are simply not receiving them, and that is your problem not ours.” CRG did not offer any further reply.
In April 2015, a complainant tried to make a payment by calling and explaining that his account had gone to collections because he had moved out of state and had not received the forwarded mail. Allegedly, the Columbia Recovery Group representative “was rude…said she couldn’t do that…that this is over a year old,” and then told the complainant that “she pays her bills…that she doesn’t care if the complainant pays it or not…that everyone has an excuse… and that you’re not my client.” The complainant indicated his shock that the representative “was behaving that way as a manager/owner.” The complainant indicated he was going to report the misconduct to the property management company, and the representative allegedly threatened to retaliate by reporting the delinquency to the credit reporting agencies before the standard thirty-day grace period. In its response, CRG denied that the manager identified by the complainant had ever worked for them; denied that any wrongdoing had taken place; and insisted that they are not “required to accept partial payments.”
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The FDCPA regulates the behavior of collection agencies by prohibiting actions such as the use of abusive or threatening language; harassment; or the use of false or misleading information to collect a debt.
The FCRA regulates how collection agencies and creditors report delinquent debts to credit reporting agencies. Additional consumer protection laws include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA). The complaint above illustrates how these laws can be extremely effective tools to hold accountable collection agencies who fail to adhere to their provisions.
These laws also provide individuals with a means to seek monetary damages in court. For example, the FDCPA allows consumers who have been violated to recover damages of up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs.
Seek legal assistance to find the relief you may be entitled to if you are having difficulty resolving disputes with a debt collection agency.
Your debt harassment checklist:
- You are receiving multiple calls per week from third party collection agencies
- You are receiving early morning or late night calls from debt collectors
- You are receiving calls at work from a debt collection agency
- Debt collectors are calling your friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Collectors are threatening you with violence, lawsuit, or arrest
- A debt collector attempts to collect more than you owe
- You are being threatened with negative credit reporting
- A debt collector attempts to intimidate you
- Criminal accusations are being made towards you
- Use of obscene language during an attempt to collect
- Automated robocalls are being made to your phone in an attempt to collect
If you’ve been harassed by debt collectors and even one of these has happened to you, we can help. We will fight for your rights.
The Lemberg Law legal team is committed to holding debt collectors accountable, so complete our form for a FREE case evaluation, or call 844-685-9200.
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