From time to time, I will call out specific companies for particularly aggressive or illegal collection activities. In the past, I have written about Navy Federal Credit Union and Bank of America. Today’s target is a local collection agency called Alternative Recovery Management (“ARM”).
ARM is a collection agency located in La Mesa, CA. Although ARM has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau, my recent experience indicates that this rating is undeserved. ARM seems to specialize in collecting delinquent dues for homeowners associations.
A client recently came to me that was struggling with an overdue HOA bill from a property that they had lost to their bank via foreclosure. The client shared a voice mail message with me that included a threat from ARM to call my client’s supervisor at work. That threat was illegal under both federal and California laws prohibiting unfair debt collection practices.
Rather that sue ARM and the homeowners association, my client wanted to offer a settlement. After waiting to hear from ARM for nearly 60 days, it appeared as if we had a fair settlement worked out. The problem was that ARM then refused to provide any written documentation that the HOA board of directors had accepted the offer. ARM also refused to provided any documentation that they were even authorized to collect on behalf of the HOA. ARM even refused to say how my client should make out the settlement check.
At one point in time, ARM even admitted that they had recorded phone calls with me and my staff without consent. California is a “two-party consent” state with respect to recording phone calls. This type of activity is punishable by jail time and fine of up to $5000. ARM declined my offer to settle and faces possible litigation now.
If you are in Southern California and Alternative Recovery Management has harassed you over an unpaid bill, I would love to hear from you. Please call me at (619) 448-2129 for a free consultation.
Image credit: Jacques