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Niagara Credit Solutions or NCS is a multinational third-party collection agency based in New York state. NCS has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including threatening to take actions that cannot legally be taken and attempting to collect debts that are not owed. If you have been contacted by Niagara Credit Solutions, make sure you understand your rights before responding.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Niagara Credit Solutions, Inc. was founded and incorporated in March 2005. The BBB established NCS’s profile page about four months later, in July 2005. NCS is listed as a collection agency. Buzzfile estimates NCS’ annual revenue at $7.3 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 21 employees.
According to its website, Niagara Credit Solutions “provides the total solution for…receivable management needs.” NCS’s mission is to “deliver best-in-class results while maintaining their clients’ integrity and their customers’ respect.” Their vision is to “strategically integrate the top personnel, best practices, and cutting-edge technology to provide a total recovery solution for their clients.”
Niagara Credit Solutions’ website does not provide any detailed information about the industries in which its clients operate. For example, they do not indicate whether they specialize in collecting delinquent retail accounts, healthcare bills, credit cards, or utilities. Instead, their website describes how NCS “optimizes performance and provides…clients with world-class best practices…by continuously analyzing and auditing internal processes, networking with peers, maintaining association memberships, and attending receivable management conferences.” In addition, NCS recruits “seasoned professionals who handle customer contact in an environment that embraces positive communication and rewards ‘Customer Friendly’ behavior.”
Niagara Credit Solutions’ compliance policy consists of a “Compliance Pledge” in which all of its collectors are required to sign a statement indicating their commitment to following “all collection, privacy, and bankruptcy regulations.” NCS also “employs a Compliance Department who monitors…personnel to assure all company and client policies and procedures are followed. In addition to monitoring, …NCS’ Compliance Department maintains…national licensing along with a comprehensive insurance and bond package.”
Niagara Credit Solutions’ Compliance page lists the major regulatory laws that govern the collections industry, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, the Fair Crediting Reporting Act, the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act, and the Bankruptcy Code. However, they do not provide any links to consumer protection laws, resources, or enforcement agencies. In addition, their Contact Us page does not include the legally mandated disclosure identifying them as a debt collector.
As of February 2018, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has closed 10 complaints against Niagara Credit Solutions in the preceding 3 years, with 1 complaint closed in the past 12 months. All of the complaints allege problems with billing and collections. As of April 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 6 complaints about Niagara Credit Solutions or NCS. Justia lists at least 4 cases of civil litigation involving Niagara Credit Solutions.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases against Niagara Credit Solutions Inc
In October 2009, in the United States District Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, a judge issued a decision in a case alleging Niagara Credit Solutions had violated certain provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In this case, the plaintiff had acquired debt that she owed to the Consumer Shopping Network, and when it became delinquent, it was assigned to NCS for collection. In its initial efforts to contact the plaintiff, Niagara Credit Solutions collectors “left over a dozen messages on the plaintiff’s answering machine from July through October 2007.” The plaintiff’s complaint indicated that the messages violated the FDCPA. One of the messages entered into evidence was taken from the plaintiff’s answering machine. The message was left by a pre-recorded voice that stated, “This is an important message for the plaintiff… Please return this message at 1-800-XXX-XXXX, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. eastern standard time. It is important that you reach our office.” A second message was left by a collector who stated, “This message is intended for the plaintiff. Please contact J______ last name not clear at 1-800-XXX-XXXX, my extension is 220. When returning my call have your file number available. It’s 125XXXX.” The plaintiff objected that these messages violated Section 1692e(11) of the FDCPA, which “specifically requires that a debt collector disclose in all communications with a debtor that the message is from a debt collector.”
In its defense, Niagara Credit Solutions argued that it had in place a company policy about messages they left on the answering machines of people they were contacting about past due bills. Specifically, that policy stated that collectors “leave a message asking the debtor to call back about an important matter; provide Niagara’s phone number; supply the real first name of the person calling on behalf of Niagara; and give any reference number assigned to the account.”
However, Niagara also instructed its collectors to “purposefully leave out of the messages any information disclosing that they were from Niagara Credit Solutions, Inc. or a debt collector, or that the call had been made for the purpose of collecting a debt.” NCS attorneys reasoned that this policy was in place to ensure that their voice mail messages did not accidentally violate Section 1692c(b) of the FDCPA, which “forbids an agency from communicating about the debt with a third party,” in the event a third-party were to overhear the message. The judge in this case compared NCS’ company policy of violating the FDCPA in order to comply with it to a famous report from an American military officer in the Vietnam War who explained that his troops “had to destroy the village to save it.” Niagara Credit Solutions’ repeated attempts to appeal were denied, and the plaintiff was awarded statutory damages for the FDCPA violation and $33,036.00 in attorney’s fees.
Niagara Credit Solutions, Inc.
1212 Abbott Rd., Suite D
Lackawanna, New York 14218
Telephone: (888) 841-3131
Understanding Your Debt Collection Rights
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 recieving calls at work from a debt collection agency
- Debt collectors are calling your friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Collectors are threatening you with violence, a 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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