Alliance One — Protect Yourself from Harassment 26 Apr 2012 | By chane
If you suddenly get a phone call from a debt collector called Alliance One trying to collect a debt they believe you owe, be on alert. This company is well-known for calling people at work, late at night, and making harassing calls to family, friends and neighbors all in the name of getting you to pay. Even if you don’t really owe anything, Alliance One may still report the debts and lower your credit scores. While it sounds unbelievable, it has happened to thousands of people. And it could happen to you, as well.
Who is Alliance One?The Alliance One Collection Agency is a gigantic national debt collection agency formed from five smaller agencies when they joined together into one company in 1999. They’re a typical debt collection agency in that they collect unsecured debts. They also are a subsidiary of Teleperformance USA, Inc. They claim to help companies get paid and reportedly have a large chunk of health care debt collection. However, if you do a web search for them, you will get another view of them. Hundreds of reports on complaint and rip-off sites document Alliance One as a company that uses harassment and other less than savory methods to try to get people to pay up. Sometimes Alliance One continues this harassment even after the person has proven they are not the actual owner of the debt. The list of lawsuits pending against Alliance One for violating the Fair Debt Collection Act goes on for four pages. They are apparently well-known for calling you at work and being unreasonable when told you can’t speak with them. There are complaints that they contact their victims workplace, relatives, and even neighbors trying to collect debts. If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of one of Alliance One’s phone calls, there are some things you can do to protect your rights. Debt collectors, including Alliance One, may not use threats, or use bad language. They may not repeatedly use the phone to annoy you. They can’t lie – misrepresent themselves as lawyers or government officials, for instance. They can’t say you’ll be arrested or that they’re going to take legal action or have you arrested unless they are planning to file a lawsuit or file a bench warrant. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has given all consumers a shield against aggressive and harassing debt collectors – the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) – which makes it illegal for debt collectors to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. Under the same Act, Alliance One must send you a written validation of your debt within five days after contacting you. It has to include the name of the original creditor to whom you owe the money, and what to do if you don’t think you owe that debt. Alliance One cannot contact you at inconvenient times or places, very early in the morning, very late at night unless you agree to it, or at work if you told them not to. So tell them, both verbally and writing, that you cannot speak to them at work and not to call again. Alliance One has been reported in many complaints for not only calling at work but calling multiple times a day while using harassing and threatening language. While we’re on the subject of the workplace, be aware that Alliance One, like any other third-party debt collector, has to sue you before they can do anything like garnish your wages or bank account. And they have to give you notice of that lawsuit as well.
Alliance One: Stop the HarassmentAfter you talk to Alliance One and find out what they want, you can get their mailing address and send them a written letter by certified mail with a return receipt telling them to stop contacting you. Do not admit to owing any debt you do not recognize — it may not even be yours at all. Once you notify them in writing to cease contact, they can respond to you to tell you they won’t contact you anymore. They can also send you a notice they’re taking action against you. If they continue sending you anything else, especially harassing debt collection letters, note the date and save them and you can report them to the FTC on them for violating the FDCPA. If you’re having trouble with Alliance One and you need help, you should get in touch with the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and talk to your state’s attorney general. They will be very interested to get the details of Alliance One’s behavior, and they can help you know your rights and what you can do to prevent further harassment.