Bridgeport Financial Inc or BFI 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 Bridgeport Financial?
Bridgeport Financial, Inc. (BFI) is a third-party collection agency based in California. BFI has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), such as failing to provide written verification of debts and harassment. If BFI has contacted you about past due financial obligations, make sure you understand your rights before taking action.
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Is Bridgeport Financial a scam?
They’re legit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Bridgeport Financial , Inc. was founded in 1994. The BBB established a profile page for BFI in 2009. The BBB lists Bridgeport Financial as a collection agency. Buzzfile estimates BFI’s annual revenue at $2 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 23 employees.
According to its website, BFI “is a team of individuals who combine their natural talents with an innovative process to generate revenue for its clients and goodwill for the community. As a result, clients of BFI recognize increased revenue recovery, decreased Days Sales Outstanding (DSOs), increased customer retention, added goodwill, and improved efficiency.”
Who does Bridgeport Financial collect for?
The Bridgeport Financial website does not state specifically which types of businesses or industries for whom they regularly collect debts. However, their Case Studies page indicates that have collected debts for law firms and medical service providers. They also state that they work with “organizations who have the courage to innovate their revenue departments and increase profits.”
BFI is a full-service collection agency. Their collection staff utilizes the “Plus System, a revolutionary collection model that uses motivational and human relation techniques to inspire debtors to fulfill their financial responsibilities.” They also use credit reporting as a collection tool and employ “the best technology in the industry… to streamline the collection process, thus allowing clients to recognize the most efficient performance.” BFI has an in-house legal department that specializes in collection lawsuits. BFI also offers educational training and management seminars.
Bridgeport Financial cites membership in the International Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA International) and the California Association of Collectors (CAC). However, their website is client-facing and provides neither any details about their regulatory compliance policies, nor any links or references to consumer protection laws, resources, 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 Bridgeport Financial?
As of November 2019, the BBB has given BFI a rating of F, citing its failure to respond to any of the complaints it has received. The BBB has closed 7 complaints against Bridgeport Financial, Inc in the preceding three years, with 2 complaints closed in the previous 12 months. Most of those complaints alleged problems with billing and collections. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has not posted any complaint data involving BFI. Justia lists at least 4 cases of civil litigation involving BFI.
Bridgeport Financial, Inc. 1510 Park Avenue., Ste. 200 San Jose, CA 95126 Telephone: (408) 295-7085
Can Bridgeport Financial Sue Me or Garnish My Wages?
It is illegal for a debt collector to make empty threats to sue you or garnish your wages. It is also unlikely BFI 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!
In December 2005, in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a judge issued a decision in a case in which Bridgeport Financial, Inc appealed an earlier decision in which they were found liable for violations of the FDCPA. In the original case, the plaintiff had received a collection notice from BFI regarding a $42.00 debt allegedly owed to a video store. The complaint stated that the collection letter included the following statement: “Unless you notify this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume this debt is valid.” The plaintiff alleged that the letter violated Sections 1692g and 1692e of the FDCPA, arguing that it “misrepresented the rights of consumers because it required the plaintiff to dispute the debt in writing.” Attorneys for BFI argued that the language in Section1692g(a) (3) “requires disputes to be in writing because only written disputes can invoke the other protections afforded by the FDCPA.” As a result, BFI requested that the case be dismissed. However, the district court rejected BFI’s arguments, “holding that the plain meaning of Section 1692g(a) (3) did not require that disputes be in writing and that this interpretation did not undermine the purpose or destroy the coherence of the statute.” The district court certified the case as a class action.
At the appeals hearing in 2005, Bridgeport Financial asked the court to reverse the decision, arguing that the district court had made an error in interpreting the law. The court stated that Section 1692g(a) of the FDCPA states that a debt collector must send a consumer, “within five days of its initial attempt to collect any debt, a written notice containing: the amount of the debt;…the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed; …a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, …the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector; …a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt…is disputed, … the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt; …and…a statement that upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor.” In addition, Section 1692g(b) “further provides that if the consumer notifies the collector of a dispute in writing within the 30-day period, the collector shall cease collection activities until” they provide debt verification.
The court stated that “the plain meaning of Section 1692g is that debtors can trigger the rights under subsection (a) (3) by either an oral or written ‘dispute,’ while debtors can trigger the rights under subsections (a) (4) and (a) (5) only through written dispute.” As a result, because Bridgeport Financial’s collection letter misrepresented the rights of consumers by requiring all disputes to be made in writing, the appeals court affirmed the district court’s previous decision in favor of the plaintiff.
Bridgeport Financial 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).
Can I sue BFI for harassment?
Yes. If you want to enforce your rights, or recover money for violations — you need to sue. Federal 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.
“When I first contacted Lemberg Law, I was at my wits end, not knowing what to do or how to protect myself against the collection agencies. I felt like I was sinking. After sending in my case evaluation, Lemberg Law quickly threw me a lifeline and turned the tide.”
“I used to get up to 15 calls a week from several collection agencies. It got so bad I felt like I should just get a new phone number to make it quit. Happily, I discovered Lemberg Law. They immediately put an end to the calls. Now, when my phone rings I do not dread it.”
“Thanks to the staff at Lemberg Law, I have peace of mind again. They worked quickly to find the harassing calls ended and were super considerate when I spoke together. I love the hard work!”
“Prior to contacting you, we had tried repeatedly to handle this matter without threatening litigation. In the end, not only were they unapologetic, but they were dismissive – even of an attorney friend who called on our behalf. Sincerest thanks for resolving this matter for us!”
Can You Help Me Delete Bridgeport Financial from My Credit Report?
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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.