The Hauge Associates or HAI 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 Hauge Associates?
Hauge Associates or HAI is a third-party collection agency based in South Dakota that specializes in collecting delinquent healthcare bills. HAI has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), such as attempting to collect debts not owed and using false or misleading information in an effort to collect a debt. If Hauge Associates has contacted you about past due collection items,make sure you understand your rights before taking action.
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Is Hauge Associates a scam?
They’re legit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), The Hauge Group is a legitimate collection agency, founded in 1968 and incorporated in 1983. The BBB established a profile page for HAI in 2003, and HAI has been a BBB-accredited business since 2007. The BBB lists The Hauge Group as a collection agency that uses the alternate business name, Hauge Associates, Inc. (HAI). Buzzfile estimates Hauge Associates’s annual revenue at $3 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 35 employees.
According to its website, HAI was “established in the 1960s as Hauge Credit Services…and has experienced first-hand the evolution of the debt collection industry from processes and practices to regulation and oversight.” THG has “adapted to accommodate the changes, expanding the services they offer, adjusting…processes, updating…systems, and reshaping their philosophy.”HAI has “learned the importance of building mutually beneficial relationships with… clients through expedient and successful debt collection through constant review and monitoring of accounts – leading to more resolved accounts.”
Who does Hauge Associates collect for?
The Hauge Group’s collection services are comprised of 4 distinct divisions—third-party retail collections through Hauge Associates; medical collections through Med-Plan Service, Ltd. (MPS); HAI’s proprietary “Bridge System”; and SYNCH Payment Solutions.
The Hauge Group is a “leader in the collections industry…and offers…clients an effective, technology-driven solution for resolving past-due accounts in a secure environment to protect sensitive information.” Services include “customized services and campaigns”; credit bureau reporting; “PPMS-certified compliant calling and workflows”; digital call recording; online access to accounts; legacy clean-up; and settlement offers.
MPS was “created specifically for the healthcare industry…and helps healthcare systems, clinics, and other medical professionals process active receivables to increase cash flow, reduce bad debt, and expedite the revenue stream.” Services include insurance follow-up and eligibility verification; “special mailings projects”; return mail processing; specialized calling campaigns; “leading-edge business analytics”; “charity care identification”; and “self-pay portfolio analysis.”
The Hauge Group’s Bridge System “is a lower-cost, softer alternative to full-service debt collection.” The Bridge System is commission-free and include a “series of pre-collection letters and improved communication with customers.” SYNCH “improves performance and delivers an exceptional customer experience online from any mobile or tablet device.”
HAI cites compliance with the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA); the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act; the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA); the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH); the Red Flags Rule; and state and federal laws. The HAI website is client-facing and does not include a consumer resources page with links and references to resources and 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 Hauge Associates?
As of April 2019, the BBB has closed 6 complaints against The Hauge Group in the past 3 years, with 1 complaint closed in the previous 12 months. Most of those complaints alleged problems with billing and collections. Since April 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 16 complaints involving HAI. Justia lists at least 4 cases of civil litigation involving HAI.
The Hauge Group P.O. Box 88610 2320 West 49th Street Sioux Falls, SD 57105 Telephone:(800) 284-3131 Website: https://thehaugegroup.com/
Can Hauge Associates 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 HAI 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 The Hauge Group cite problems resulting from disputes about the accuracy of accounting practices and information reported to the credit reporting agencies, as well as abusive customer service practices.In May 2017, a complainant stated that “in spite of making regular, on-time payments, information on her credit report is listed as 24 months past due.” She said that a “payment plan had been set up for several years for a hospital stay for her daughter.” She said she had made payments “regularly since the initial plan was developed.” Regardless, she alleged that “there have been 4 derogatory remarks on her credit history, although the same report also shows 100% payments as being made on time. The derogatory remarks are being placed for a sum that was apparently added” by HAI. In addition, “the account is listed as more than 48 months delinquent.” The complainant “asked if she could pay that amount to have it resolved, particularly since she hadn’t received any notification.” She “reviewed correspondence and could not find any notice that an account had been ignored.” Furthermore, “when she called to resolve the issue, she was told all payments…would be applied to the hospitalization bill and any other accounts turned over to HAI would be continually reported as delinquent.” The complainant alleged that HAI’s actions had “significantly impacted her credit score,” but the “only solution she was offered was a settlement which… would also create a negative rating on her score.” The complainant stated her intention “to make sure that her local medical service providers are fully aware of the highly negative impact on their customers by choosing this company.” She stated that HAI’s “disregard for people attempting, and even doing, the right thing is disgusting,” and that “100% on-time payments should not lead to any negative reporting.” She also expressed her hope that “the hospital business office can find a more responsible agency to do business with.”
In January 2019, a complainant stated she had paid The Hauge Group but had “not received a single confirmation that the debt payment has been received and erased so as to not be reported any further on credit reports.” In its response, HAI denied all responsibility and placed the blame on the complainant, telling her she could have resolved it using their website or should have mentioned it earlier. In her response, the complainant stated that she “attempted multiple times to reach out to HAI, but …each time she sent a request to remedy the outstanding balance, she…was ignored.” She also stated that “due to financial hardships of being a member of the working class, something HAI is completely out of touch with, she had reached out… to come
Hauge Associates 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 The Hauge Group 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.
“Every e-mail sent or phone call made to your firm was answered not only promptly, but virtually immediately. Mr. Hirnyk patiently explained every legal concept – including what was possible and what was not – under existing state and federal consumer law.”
“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.”
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“I would recommend your company to anyone. You have the debt collectors off my back, and I will finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Throughout the entire procedure your employees were courteous and professional. I was blown away by their efficacy also.
Can You Help Me Delete Hauge Associates 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.