Encircle Collections Inc, or ECI 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 Encircle Collections?
Encircle Collections, Inc. (ECI) is a third-party collection agency based in Florida that specializes in collecting returned checks. ECI has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including failure to verify debts and attempting to collect debts not owed. If ECI has contacted you about past due financial obligations, make sure you know your rights before taking action.
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Is Encircle Collections a scam?
They’re legit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Encircle Collections, Inc. is a legitimate collection agency, founded in 1979. The BBB established a profile page for ECI in 2012. The BBB lists ECI as a collection agency. Buzzfile estimates ECI’s annual revenue at $4.4 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 49 employees.
According to its website, ECI has “leveraged over 25 years of experience in check acceptance and settlement technology…and has but…one mission: a fast, friendly and secure way to accept checks without any hassles or worries.” ECI’s check processing services are designed to “create a world free from the risks of check acceptance by providing seamless, end-to-end product offerings and unique solutions that are customized to the specific needs” of clients.
ECI offers “products” in four distinct areas: electronic checks, check risk management, check recovery, and check management. ECI’s electronic check division offers “an array of solutions designed to electronically accept checks, effectively decreasing costs and increasing sales…by using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network and other settlement processes to clear… check transactions.” Check risk managements services include a “guarantee program that ensures that ECI will cover… any returned checks” and a check verification service that “allows merchants access to the largest consumer databases in the industry, …allowing merchants outstanding risk management and fraud detection.”
Who does Encircle Collections collect for?
Encircle Collections essentially collects on bounced checks and attached fees. ECI’s check recovery division offers three services—re-presented check services, check collection, and return fee collection. The re-presented check service “allows businesses to recover NSF paper checks by resubmitting them electronically via the Automated Clearing House (ACH).”
ECI’s check collection division is a “leading provider of electronic and paper check collection.” Check collection staff “handle sensitive collection activity.” Services include “optional consumer service fee collection” that utilizes “integrated consolidated returns or check verification.” Return fee collection provides “merchants who are largely not successful in collecting a service fee for returned checks with an additional revenue stream associated with service charges assessed for returned checks.” ECI also offers check management tools, including an image repository, reconciliation and returns management, online reporting, and consolidated returns.
Both the Consumer and Resources tabs on the ECI website lead to pages with information aimed at potential clients. There is no information about ECI’s regulatory 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 Encircle Collections?
As of March 2019, the BBB has closed 9 complaints against Encircle Collections, Inc in the preceding three years, with 2 complaints closed in the previous 12 months. Almost all of those complaints cited problems with billing and collections. Since April 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 3 complaints involving ECI. Justia does not list any cases of civil litigation involving ECI.
Encircle Collections, Inc. 3390 Mary St., Suite 116 Coconut Grove, FL 33133 Telephone: (305) 592-7800 Website: http://www.encirclepayments.com/
Can Encircle Collections 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 ECI 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!
Complaints against Encircle Collections cite problems resulting from unauthorized bank withdrawals and aggressive telephone representatives. In August 2016, a complainant stated that ECI had made “unauthorized transactions,” and that an ECI “manager was cursing at him, which would be abusive practices.” The complainant stated that he had “received a letter from this company on 7/22/2016.” Subsequently, “on 7/27/2016,” the complainant called ECI and spoke with a representative. He explained to the representative that he had had written “a check for $25 to a college on 7/7/2016.” He had “called the college…to let them know the check would be returned” but that he intended to reimburse them. Allegedly, the college advised the complainant “to wait for a letter in the mail.” When the complainant logged into his checking account 3 weeks later, he saw that ECI had debited his account for the expenses he was paying to the college. The complainant stated that when he attempted to address his concerns to ECI, both the manager and the representative claimed that they had done nothing wrong. The complainant insisted that ECI “had no right to go into his checking account and write checks to” the college. They also should not have “drafted anything from his account without his permission.” He stated that he had a “heated argument” with the representative, and that “curse words were exchanged.” The complainant expressed his shock that a “professional business manager was cursing at” him. He also said that he “read the collection letter and nowhere on it did it say” that ECI would collect funds from “a customer’s checking account.” The complainant stated that he is “a loan officer himself and this not the way to do business.” The complainant concluded by stating that the ECI representative told him that “they don’t put everything they do in the letter.”
In response, Encircle Collections stated that the “consumer was not happy because…he was advised by the payee that his check would only be deposited twice,” but the check was re-presented until it cleared. In addition, ECI stated that “on the receipt that the consumer signed, it states that that…the consumer authorizes electronic funds transfer or to process the payment as a check transaction.” In addition, ECI alleged that “during the course of the conversation, the consumer did state that he did not mind ECI taking the $25.00, but was concerned about the withdrawal of the service charge. He also wanted to know if the service charge could be waived.” ECI “informed him that this would have to be paid separately.” As for the allegations of verbal abuse, ECI stated that “the business manager did not curse at the consumer; he merely repeated back to the consumer his original words.” Ultimately, ECI agreed to waive the service charge “as a courtesy…and stated that no further communication had been initiated… since that date.”
Encircle 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).
Can I sue ECI 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.
“With your help the nagging collection calls have finally ceased! I was thrilled I was also able to get damages from the collection agency. I am unable to adequately express my joy. I am so thankful I made the call.”
“When I first emailed the office, I was not exactly sure what they could do for me. I had an idea, but they responded back with everything I could expect to take place. I never believed I would be receiving a check, it was definitely a silver lining. I highly recommend them to anyone seeking customer legal services.”
“I just wanted to let you know we received the check from your office on now and I wanted to take some time to inform you that we really appreciate all of your efforts in this matter.”
Can You Help Me Delete Encircle Collections 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.