Alco Collections Inc or ACI is a debt collection agency, which receives a lot of consumer complaints to our law firm for debt harassment. Find out who they are, why they might be calling, and how you can stop them.
What is Alco Collections Inc – ACI?
Alco Collections, Inc. (ACI) is a third-party collection agency based in Louisiana. ACI has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), such as attempting to collect debts not owed and failing to verify debts. If ACI has contacted you about past due financial obligations, make sure you understand your rights before you take action.
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Is Alco Collections a scam?
They’re legit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Alco Collections, Inc. was founded and incorporated in 1985. The BBB established a profile page for ACI in 2003. The BBB lists ACI as a collection agency.
According to its website, ACI “has many years of experience in the collection business and… can effectively process accounts from small to large volume providers at a competitive rate.” ACI states that its “proven system helps companies recover money owed to them…with industry-leading results that earn their ongoing confidence.”
ACI collects delinquencies for a variety of businesses in the financial services, medical and dental, and rental property management industries, including accounting firms; advertising and marketing firms; ambulance services; apartment complexes; attorneys; auto retailers and auto parts stores and suppliers; banks and credit unions; boat dealers; cellular telephone service providers; child care service providers; florists; fuel and oil companies; government agencies; gyms; heating and air conditioning services; hospitals and private medical and dental practices; and pay day loan companies. ACI also accepts commercial business-to-business accounts.
Alco Collections provides a full range of debt collection services. Their contingency-based collection service includes fees “based on a percentage of the dollars collected” and provides credit reporting; tracking of corporate debtors; credit investigation; and commercial debt collection. Fee-based consultations include “a complete review and assessment of…internal collection procedures, including dunning notices, call frequency, and follow up procedures.” ACI’s legal debt recovery uses an attorney network for hard-to-collect accounts and includes “advance court costs” and wage garnishment. ACI also provides skip tracing and account forwarding.
ACI is a member of the International Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA International). However, their website is client-facing and does not include links or references to consumer protection resources, laws, or enforcement agencies.
Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm
Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of collection harassment and abuse. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. We’ve helped more than 15,000 consumers stop harassment and recover money from debt collectors. Harassed? Abused? Misled by a collector? Call our Helpline today! There is no charge unless we win.
How many Complaints are there against Alco Collections?
As of April 2019, the BBB has closed 10 complaints against Alco Collections in the past 3 years, with 4 complaints closed in the previous 12 months. Most of those complaints alleged problems with billing and collections. Since June 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 10 complaints involving ACI. Justia lists at least 2 cases of civil litigation involving ACI.
It is illegal for a debt collector to make empty threats to sue you or garnish your wages. It is also unlikely ACI would sue you for a debt you may not owe or they cannot validate. However, debt collection agencies are known to have summoned debtors to court and garnish wages after a default judgement. Contacting an attorney BEFORE this could possibly happen would be a smart move. We’ve helped thousands of consumers fight back against unscrupulous debt collection harassers. Find out if we can help you too today!
Unlawful Debt Harassment? Learn the Law & Sue the Collector.
Can you help me file a No Fee Lawsuit against Alco Collections?
Absolutely. Here are some sample complaints.
In March 1997, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, a judge issued a decision in a case alleging Alco Collections had violated certain provisions of the FDCPA, as well as Louisiana’s state Collection Agency Regulation Act (CARA). In this case, the plaintiff had incurred a debt as a result of renting an apartment. The property manager alleged that the plaintiff owed $1,655.00 for three month’s rent and late fees and hired ACI to collect the debt. ACI accepted the debt on a contingency basis and agreed to pay the property manager 50% of the funds it recovered. ACI did not send a collection letter to the plaintiff. Instead, they sent a demand letter—which is normally written by an attorney—seeking the $1,655.00 plus an additional $68.00 for court costs associated with an eviction proceeding. Subsequently, ACI’s president “filed suit against the plaintiff in Baton Rouge City Court, although neither he nor ACI is an attorney at law. The complaint… claimed $1,655.00 was due, but… did not include the additional $68 in court costs ACI had initially demanded. ACI later claimed it inadvertently omitted the $68 fee from its complaint.” The plaintiff answered the complaint, “denying she was indebted to the property manager and contending that the assignment of the debt to ACI was invalid.” She also argued that the property manager’sassignment of the debt was void because “it purported to authorize ACI, a lay entity, to take legal action against her.” The city court denied the plaintiff’s complaint, so she appealed to the Louisiana State Court of Appeals and filed suit in federal district court, citing violations of the FDCPA.
At the appeals hearing, the court considered the plaintiff’s argument that Alco Collections had violated the FDCPA. According to Section 1692e(5), a collection agency may not threaten to “take any action that cannot legally be taken.” The plaintiff argued that “the assignment of the debt from the property manager to ACI on a contingency basis, allowing ACI a 50% contingency fee, had an unlawful purpose under Louisiana law and was null and void. She argued that non-lawyer debt collectors who attempt to collect for clients in this manner are engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Since Louisiana law prohibits non-lawyers from practicing law, ACI had threatened to take, and actually took, action they were not legally permitted to take,” in violation of the FDCPA. The appeals court reviewed the city court’s verdict. Although the city court reasoned that CARA states that “non-lawyer collection agencies filing suit to collect on debts are not against the law or public policy of Louisiana,” the Court of Appeals determined that assignment of the debt from the property manager to ACI did not convey to ACI an ownership interest in the debt. Furthermore, Louisiana state law “defines the ‘practice of law’ as appearing in a representative capacity as an advocate in any court in the state… for another in legal matters for compensation.” This law “does not prevent persons from acting on behalf of themselves in legal matters,” but because the assignment of the debt to ACI did not transfer ownership to ACI, ACI’s actions constituted an unlicensed practice of law. Therefore, the court found that their lawsuit violated Section 1692e(5) of the FDCPA. As a result, the previous judgement was reversed, and the case was remanded “for entry of partial summary judgment for the plaintiff that ACI was liable under the FDCPA, and for determination of damages.”
Alco Collections Calling You?
Federal laws protect you. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (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).
But here’s the rub: If you want to enforce your rights, or recover money for violations — you need to sue. These laws provide individuals like you 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.
Want to Stop Debt Collection Harassment Now?
You may have a case, if…
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 receiving 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
“We were so impressed with how the attorney listened to us and understood the position we were in. Thank you for stopping the calls. The check was a nice bonus, but mostly we’re glad we’re not being hounded anymore.”
“Lemberg Law contacted me within a couple of hours of me submitting my info on their site. That same day Daniel emailed me instructions on what to do the next time the collection agency called. Within a week, the calls had stopped. Today marks week 2 and we’ve not had a call in three days. I can’t say thank you enough.”
“I can’t praise your service enough. I was lost and just really wanted my credit report cleaned up. You have gone beyond my expectations. Thanks again!”
Can You Help Me Delete Alco Collections from My Credit Report?
There is a good chance we can. Contact us to find out more.
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About the Author:
Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized as the “most active consumer attorney” in the country. In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid in the United States Supreme Court in the case entitled Duguid v. Facebook. He is the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.