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Phillips & Cohen Associates or PCA is a multinational corporation and third-party collection agency based in Delaware. PCA has received consumer complaints alleging very serious violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including making false statements in an effort to collect a debt and improper contact or sharing of information. If you have been contacted by Phillips & Cohen Associates, make sure you understand your rights before responding.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Phillips & Cohen Associates, Ltd. was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2000. The BBB established PCA’s profile page in 2001. PCA is listed as a collection agency. Buzzfile estimates PCA’s annual revenue at $27.2 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 80 employees, with an estimated 400 additional people employed at locations around the world.
According to its website,Phillips & Cohen Associates is “an award-winning industry leader providing expert niche services recognized for its unique and compassionate style of customer
interaction.”Phillips & Cohen Associates claims to have “built its reputation in the credit industry by providing specialized compassionate engagement services to clients, enabling them to realize additional recoveries and deliver tangible customer experience process enhancements.”
With offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Spain, PCA “currently works with over 70 of the world’s largest creditors across a wide range of industry sectors including banking and finance, home shopping, utility, telecoms, debt purchase, local government, and central government.” PCA’s U.S. headquarters specializes in delivering “measurably superior collection services.” Their collections staff collects delinquent accounts for several industries, including consumer retail accounts, consumer credit cards, business credit, healthcare, student loans, and the estates of deceased individuals.
Phillips & Cohen Associates boasts business methods whose effectiveness results from efficiency, aggressiveness, relentless, and thoroughness. Concerns about money appear to be paramount. Although their website employs elegant and sophisticated language, their claims betray a tendency to view the law and the rights, feelings, beliefs, and values of people solely as obstacles to be overcome in the pursuit of more profit. For example, their deceased accounts division has “implemented grief-training protocols for all our deceased account care specialists. Certified grief counselors are available for immediate transfer during calls to survivors in case their professional services are either required or helpful.” Yet, PCA has advertised its sensitivity training programs not to assure the public and prospective clients of their genuine concern for the survivors in deceased estate cases, but rather to establish themselves as the industry leader in ensuring that “complex estate debt situations…are resolved in a manner that achieves… their clients’ important financial goals.”
Phillips & Cohen Associates Our Values page includes an assurance that they are dedicated to compassion, compliance, commitment, and innovation. Their Consumer Resources page includes a toll-free number and an email address for complaints. However, there is no mention of consumer protection laws or enforcement agencies.
As of February 2018, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has closed 14 complaints against Phillips & Cohen Associates in the preceding 3 years, with 8 complaints closed in the past 12 months. Most of the complaints allege problems with billing and collections. As of April 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 18 complaints about PCA. Justia lists at least 28 cases of civil litigation involving Phillips & Cohen Associates.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases filed in Federal Court
Phillips & Cohen Associates case history reveals a pattern of involvement that is not typical of many debt collection agencies. In 2001, PCA attorneys represented a realtor who brought a case in cooperation with the United States federal government against a Medicare billing service for violations of the False Claims Act. According to court records, the plaintiff was faced with considerable challenges but was motivated to pursue his claim in part because he knew that “sustained involvement by Phillips & Cohen would entitle the firm to additional compensation if the case resulted in a recovery.” PCA attorneys have also had success in deterring plaintiffs from pursuing debt collection civil cases, as in a 2017 case in which a plaintiff was convinced to dismiss her “claims with prejudice as to all Defendants PCA, Portfolio Asset Group, and Capital One…with all rights of appeal waived, and all parties to bear their own fees and costs.” In a 2008 case, the plaintiffs protested a debt that had resulted from identity theft. Despite having confirmed the nature of the debt, Phillips & Cohen Associates “representatives began a relentless debt collection campaign…by engaging in practices of harassment and intimidation outlawed by the Federal Debt Collection statute.” PCA insisted that the case be dismissed because the plaintiffs, as victims of identity theft, could not claim to be consumers according to the FDCPA, to which the Court issued a stern rebuke and denied PCA’s motion.
One case in particular illustrates PCA’s unique style of litigating delinquent debt. In 2010, in United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, a plaintiff charged that PCA’s pursuit of his deceased wife’s credit card bill violated Section 1692c(c) of the FDCPA, as well as state laws against invasion of privacy and negligence. In this case, the plaintiff’s wife had accrued $11,154.67 in credit card debt but passed away in November 2007. Phillips & Cohen Associates representatives began calling the plaintiff in January 2008 to request payment for the outstanding bill. PCA allegedly made 14 calls to the plaintiff and sent four letters during the period from January 2008 through July 2008. The plaintiff had sent three cease-and-desist letters and had made at least one verbal request that PCA representatives not contact him. During trial, the plaintiff presented signed receipts indicating PCA had received his letters, but PCA attorneys denied ever having received them. After the plaintiff had sent the initial cease-and-desist letter to PCA, he received a call from a Phillips & Cohen Associates collector who had apparently completed PCA’s sensitivity training program. Court records indicate she responded to the plaintiff’s comment that his wife had just passed away by telling him politely that it is PCA’s policy “to give three months to grieve.” The plaintiff testified that he was so angry by this response, that he “‘wanted to reach through the phone and choke her.’” The judge in this case denied Phillips & Cohen Associates motion to dismiss the case and set it for trial to determine whether the plaintiff would be awarded punitive damages.
Phillips & Cohen Associates, Ltd.
1002 Justison Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Telephone: (888) 608-1766
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, 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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