Collection Bureau Services or CBS Inc 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 Collection Bureau Services?
Collection Bureau Services , Inc. (CBS) is a third-party collection agency based in Montana. CBS has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including failure to verify debts and making false statements. If you have been contacted by CBS, make sure you understand your rights before taking action.
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Is Collection Bureau Services a scam?
They’re legit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Collection Bureau Services, Inc. is a legitimate collection agency, founded in 1976. The BBB established CBS’ profile page in 2005. The BBB lists 5 alternate phone numbers for CBS. Buzzfile estimates CBS’ annual revenue at $7.0 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 26 employees.
According to its website, CBS “is an integrated delinquent and active account collection service…with offices in Missoula and Billings, MT.” CBS representatives offer personalized client services and will “come to your location to devise a strategy tailored to your unique business needs.” CBS’ mission is to “provide…clients with collection services that are the pinnacle of those offered in Montana, to continually strive to upgrade and improve procedures to the betterment of our clients, and to do so in a legal and ethical manner that preserves the dignity and self-respect of Montana consumers.”
Who does Collection Bureau Services collect for?
Collection Bureau Services provides debt collection services to a variety of clients, including healthcare providers such as hospitals, clinics, and private physicians; government agencies at the state, county, and municipal levels; legal and professional businesses such as attorney firms, CPA’s, and psychiatrists; utility companies, including water, gas, and electricity; financial services, such as banks and credit unions; and property management firms, including individual landlords.
As a full-service collection agency, CBS utilizes credit bureau reporting; electronic file transfer; an online management system; automated dialing, collection letters, and payment processing; and an in-house litigation department. CBS’ blog offers articles that provide insight for collection managers researching regulatory policies. However, their site does not provide any information about its compliance policies, nor are there any 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 Collection Bureau Services – CBS?
As of December 2017, the BBB has closed 8 complaints against Collection Bureau Services in the preceding 3 years, with 3 complaints closed in the past 12 months. Most of these complaints alleged problems with billing and collections. Since April 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 16 complaints about CBS. Justia lists at least 4 cases of civil litigation involving CBS.
Can Collection Bureau Services 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 CBS 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 April 2004, in the Supreme Court of the State of Montana, a judge issued an Opinion in a case in which Collection Bureau Services, challenged an earlier decision that had found them guilty of violating the Montana Collection Act (MCA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In the initial case, the plaintiff had issued eight bad checks in amounts ranging from $10.20 to $25.00 to merchants such as Pizza Hut and the Golden Spur. The total amount of all bad checks was $148.96. The businesses who received the checks hired CBS to collect the delinquent amounts, and Collection Bureau Services, sent the plaintiff eight separate letters—one for each check. Each letter demanded payment for the face value of the check plus a $30.00 collection fee, so that the total amount the plaintiff owed CBS was $388.96. Subsequently, CBS sent the plaintiff a single letter demanding payment for the entire amount. This letter included the following language:
“YOU MAY EXPERIENCE DIFFICULTY WRITING CHECKS DUE TO THE UNPAID ITEMS. MT. CODE ANNOTATED 27-1-717 PROVIDES SPECIFIC LEGAL REMEDIES. CALL US TO RESOLVE THIS.”
The plaintiff began sending Collection Bureau Services, payments, the first a check for $25.00 with a note stating she had missed earlier billing statements, but that she would send $50.00 every other week until the bill was paid. A month later, the plaintiff sent CBS a money order for $10.00; the same day CBS received the money order, they returned it to the plaintiff with a letter indicating she had agreed to pay $50.00 per installment. The plaintiff’s next payment was for $50.00. She missed the next two payments, so Collection Bureau Services, filed a suit against the plaintiff requesting $1,113.96 for the remaining balance plus service charges and statutory damages of $100 per check, as allowed by the MCA.
Prior to being served, the plaintiff contacted CBS, and began making payments on the balance. CBS accepted the payment and began negotiating a settlement with the plaintiff. During the initial hearing, the plaintiff contested only the additional statutory damages, and the court found in her favor, indicating that by accepting partial payments, CBS had waived its right to statutory damages. Furthermore, CBS’ pursuit of damages after having waived the right to claim them was deemed a violation of the FDCPA, and the plaintiff was awarded $40 in actual damages, $1,000 in statutory damages, $183.75 in court costs, and $17,000 in attorney fees.
The April 2004 hearing was held to determine a verdict on CBS’ appeal of this decision, in which Collection Bureau Services, held that the court erred in in its interpretation of the MCA, and that a bona fide error defense should excuse its violation of the FDCPA. Ultimately, the court upheld the verdict in favor of the plaintiff and remanded the case back to the District Court to determine the amount of attorney fees to be awarded.
Collection Bureau Services CBS 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 CBS 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.
“We realize that ours is just one small case among many – and many more serious – but are heartened by the fact that you accepted it and represented us with a professionalism that belied the small dollar amount.”
“If you are unsure about this company…DONT BE!!! They are for real when they say they are here to help you. It only takes a few short minutes of your time to talk to a rep. I was a skeptic, but you did everything you said you would! I can’t say thank you enough!”
”Lemberg Law has saved me from the endless calls, and harassing voicemails. They really do go to bat for you. I didn’t know that debt collection agencies can end up paying your legal bill. What a surprise, to receive free legal help. I’m very grateful for all the hard work they did to finally give me my life back.”
“I won’t be afraid to contact you or recommend your services to others for debt collection difficulties. Please keep up the outstanding work you do, and again, thank you for helping me through this challenging time. I am most grateful.”
Can You Help Me Delete Collection Bureau Services CBS from My Credit Report?
We can absolutely help. Call us today.
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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.