Maginnis Howard consumer attorneys are investigating Fair Collections & Outsourcing (FCO) for alleged harassment over debt collection. Reports from consumers indicate the company is violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by failing to follow guidelines about credit reporting disputes. While they are a legitimate company, their intimidating and invasive tactics to obtain payment are positively illegitimate. Worse still, their conduct can prevent consumers from credit options and housing.
Fair Collections & Outsourcing Inc Background
FCO is a Maryland-based collection agency founded in 1996. They are a rental-housing debt collector with more than 30 branches across the country and one in the Philippines. Their Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile displays an astounding 112 complaints, many of which have gone unanswered. FCO is not accredited by the BBB and it’s overall rating is an “F”.
Fair Collections & Outsourcing is not the first of President Michael Sobota’s debt collection ventures. From 1986 until 2006, the company went by the name of Pierre, Hamilton, and Stern (PHS). When dissolved in 2006 a press release stated the former business was now two separate agencies. One of these agencies is FCO and the other is Hunter Warfield Inc (HWI).
Hunter Warfield Inc.
This agency styles itself as a “revenue recovery partner” with 30 years of experience. In the last 3 years this company has received a total of 433 BBB complaints. Only 143 of those were closed in the last year. Many complaints allege their credit reports reflect debts to Hunter Warfield that are inaccurate.
Consumer Rights Violations
The FDCPA is not the only statute FCO struggles with. In 2021 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed suit against the company alleging it was pursuing debts on an “unreasonable basis”. This type of violation falls under the purview of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). A local news site in Maryland reported on the company’s legal trouble, in which President Michael Sobota adamantly denies wrongdoing.
There are a number of ways in which a collector can violate the FDCPA, however the following are commonly associated with FCO:
- Threats of lawsuit or wage garnishment
- Persistent phone calls to the consumer outside of legal hours
- Continuous contact even after a cease-and-desist was issued
Threats, intimidation, and repetitive calls are not only a shady practice, but they can also be illegal.
Fair Credit Reporting Act Violations
One of the most frequent claims leveled against Fair Collections & Outsourcing Inc. involves the FCRA. Specifically, consumers allege that the company failed to respond to demands of removing inaccurate credit information from their reports. Failing to correct disputes of this nature, whether willfully or negligently, can have devastating consequences for someone applying for credit or housing.
Representation Against Illegal Debt Collection Practices
These are just a few of the many complaints about FCO and it’s affiliates. You can find more information about the FCDPA and FCRA from our blog. If you believe that FCO or another collections agency has violated your consumer rights, contact us today.
Maginnis Howard offers free consultations for consumer claims to North Carolina residents. For more information, contact our office at (919)-526-0450 or submit a message through our contact page. Our office may ask you for documents to appropriately assess your case.