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Paul Michael Associates or PMA is a third-party collection agency based in New York state. PMA has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including failure to verify debts and attempting to collect debts not owed. If you have been contacted by Paul Michael Associates,make sure you understand your rights before responding.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Paul Michael Associates, Inc. was founded and incorporated in 1978. The BBB established PMA’s profile page in 2003. PMA is listed as a collection agency that uses the alternate business name, Paul Michael Marketing Service, Inc.
According to its website, Paul Michael Associates is “money management at its finest.” PMA provides “clients with high quality services personalized for their unique needs.” PMA is a “full service collection agency” that employs “professional, courteous, and efficient” staff to deliver “superior service and… to meet and exceed… high levels of performance year after year.”
Paul Michael Associates offers a variety of collection-related professional services, including easy, efficient, and flexible account placement and tracking tailored to the individual needs of clients; a streamlined, computer-based management system to make the dunning and follow-up process more efficient; electronic payments for faster processing; initial debtor contact by mail; reporting to all three major credit reporting agencies; and a legal department for clients who request litigation.
Paul Michael Associates collects delinquent debts for a variety of businesses, including bad checks, retail accounts, commercial collections, small businesses, professional offices, medical service providers, credit cards, and delinquent loans.
PMA’s Contact Us page provides a prominent disclaimer of some consumer rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and a template for requesting debt validation. However, there are no links or references to their compliance policies or to any outside consumer protection resources or enforcement agencies.
As of February 2018, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has closed 6 complaints against Paul Michael Associates 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 August 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 5 complaints against PMA. Justia lists at least 1 case of civil litigation involving Paul Michael Associates.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases against Paul Michael Associates Inc
In April 2005, in Supreme Court for New York County, a judge issued a Decision in a case alleging Paul Michael Associates and one of its clients had violated the FDCPA. In this case, the plaintiff had been transported by ambulance to a local hospital. During the admission process, hospital employees failed to correctly note the plaintiff’s mailing address. As a result, the plaintiff never paid for the ambulance service because he never received any billing notices or invoices. Subsequently, the bill was turned over for collection to Paul Michael Associates. The plaintiff’s initial charge alleged that PMA had reported the delinquent debt to the three major credit reporting agencies as “seriously past due date/assigned to attorney collection agency, or credit grantor’s internal collection department.” When the plaintiff tried to resolve the debt by contacting PMA, he discovered that the original invoice had been sent to an incorrect address; that the ambulance service provider had never billed his insurance company; and that they had never made an effort to reach the plaintiff by phone even though they had a good contact number. As a result of PMA’s actions, the plaintiff sued and reached a settlement that forced PMA to pay statutory damages and court costs and attorney fees.
The April 2005 hearing was held to determine whether the plaintiff would prevail in his effort to also hold the ambulance service provider accountable. The plaintiff argued that the ambulance service provider was also liable under the FDCPA because they acted in collusion with Paul Michael Associates, who had already been found guilty of FDCPA violations. In addition, the plaintiff charged that the ambulance service provider should be held liable for damages stemming from acts of negligence, gross negligence, and defamation resulting from the loss of standing due to a lowered credit score. The court ruled that despite any indication that the ambulance service provider knowingly colluded with PMA, the FDCPA did not apply to them because they did not fall under the legal definition of a bill collector. The plaintiff’s defamation claim was also dismissed because Paul Michael Associates acted alone in filing negative credit reports, and the plaintiff had not provided enough evidence to prove that the ambulance service provider had taken any meaningful action to motivate them to do so. Finally, although the court disagreed that the ambulance service provider’s action constituted an act of gross negligence, they did uphold the plaintiff’s charge of negligence. Although the plaintiff was not awarded any further monetary damages, he was able to hold both parties accountable for reckless business practices that disregard the rights of consumers.
Paul Michael Associates, Inc.
159-16 Union Turnpike, Suite 302
Flushing, NY 11366
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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