Southern Management Systems or SMS 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 Southern Management Systems?
Southern Management Systems, Inc. (SMS) is a third-party collection agency based in Florida that specializes in collecting delinquent debts for property management companies. SMS has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), such as using false or misleading language in an effort to collect a debt and threatening to take actions that cannot legally be taken. If SMS has contacted you about delinquent collection items,make sure you know your rights before you respond.
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Is Southern Management Systems a scam?
They’re legit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Southern Management Systems, Inc. is a legitimate collection agency, founded in 1977 and incorporated in 1979. The BBB established a profile page for SMS in 2004. The BBB lists SMS as a collection agency. Buzzfile estimates SMS’s annual revenue at $1.7 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 17 employees.
Who does Southern Management Systems collect for?
Southern Management Systems “specializes in the multi-family and student housing industry serving some of the largest property management companies in the nation.” However, the SMS website does not provide a lot of detailed information about its business practices.
The SMS website provides home page links for both clients and debtors. The Client Access link leads to an off-site portal where clients can “have access 24/7 to their account, reports, listing or integrated software.” SMS “sales representatives will review the ways for clients to list…accounts…Status reports are available on-line and automatically emailed… monthly…Clients receive monthly statements of all monies collected.”
The Debtors page provides the mailing address for SMS and the statement, “Disputes and inquiries must be sent in writing to the address above.” The About Us page indicates that SMS is a member of the International Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA International); and the National Apartment Association (NAA). However, there is no information about SMS’s regulatory compliance policies, and there are no links or references to any 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 Southern Management Systems?
As of May 2019, the BBB has closed 81 complaints against Southern Management Systems in the preceding 3 years, with 27 complaints closed in the previous 12 months. Most of those complaints alleged problems with billing and collections, although 15 complaints also cited problems with customer service. Since April 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 70 complaints involving SMS. Justia lists at least 1 case of civil litigation involving SMS.
Southern Management Systems 6912 S. Quentin St., Suite 10 Centennial, CO 80112 Corporate Office: 1-877-359-8714 Website: http://www.sms-collects.com/
Can Southern Management Systems 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 SMS 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 Southern Management Systems cite problems resulting from disputes about the validity of debts and the accuracy of information reported to the credit reporting agencies.
In March 2019, a complainant stated that SMS had been trying to collect an unverified debt. According to the complainant, a property management company was “falsely accusing him of a debt he does not owe from 3 years ago.” He stated that the debt had been sent to SMS; that it “is a scam”; and that his “credit is ruined.” Allegedly, the complainant “received a notice from SMS saying that he owes $115.00 in reference to an apartment he used to live in… during college.” This letter “was the first time” the complainant had heard “of this supposed charge since he moved out in 2016 after graduating.” He stated that SMS had “refused to produce any information regarding where this debt is coming from and why he is being notified about it in the collections stage.” He also accused the “apartment complex…of being in on this, as well.” He alleged further that SMS would “not provide pictures, records, or documents of what they are claiming, and that there is no evidence of any damages whatsoever.” The complainant “eventually found his ‘move out checklist’ letter where both he… and the apartment signed off… saying that there are no damages and that he did not have any additional charges.” The complainant “refuted this debt with the credit bureau” but alleged that SMS “refuses to take this damaging and phony charge off of his account.” He stated that his “credit and his mother’s credit (who was the guarantor) has been severely bruised by this sham of a collections agency,” and that he “cannot believe they are even allowed to be in business.” He also stated that they “are not licensed or bonded in the state of” Texas, and that “if this item was not taken off his credit, …he is prepared to hire legal counsel.” He also stated that the “apartment complex had even returned his full security deposit back, and now 3 years later, there is a mystery charge” on his credit report.
In response, Southern Management Systems stated that “in review of this letter, …they forwarded an inquiry to their client, who has cancelled the account. The account has been reported to the credit bureaus as a deletion.” SMS instructed the complainant to “please give the credit bureaus time to update” and thanked the complainant for his time. The complainant accepted the resolution “that this will be deleted from both his and his mother’s credit profiles.” He added that he will “await to see that SMS actually deletes this. Otherwise he will reopen the case and consider legal remedies.”
Southern Management Systems 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 SMS 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 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 Southern Management Systems 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.