We live in a world teeming with what used to be “inside” information (which we can use to our advantage) that is often only a few keystrokes away. I was recently contacted by a New Jersey client who was being harassed and hounded by a notorious debt collection company called “Regional Adjustement Bureau,” located in Cordova, TN. If you are in NY or NJ and have been contacted by Regional Adjustment Bureau, read the below article and call me at 908-782-5313 for a FREE consultation. I am a debt defense attorney licensed in NY & NJ.
Regional Adjustment Bureau (RAB) focus on the collection of defaulted & deliquent private student loans, which present a major difficulty in the collection defense area as the debts are exempt from bankruptcy discharge except in extremely rare circumstances.
RAB had been calling my client more than 5 times a day, and were also calling the co-signer (my client’s grandmother who is a cancer patient) as early as 7:45 am and as late as 9:30 pm. The conversations with RAB included hardball tactics: threats of immediate litigation, bullying, high pressure, and a general “thuggish” attitude reminiscent of a loan shark from a gangster movie.
A quick Google search reveals that RAB is located in a poverty-stricken area of Memphis, TN. This is common for debt collectors, as a location in a poor area insures a desperate and motivated pool of employees. A quick Glassdooor search reveals RAB is basically a “boiler room” and the employees appear every bit as miserable as the debtors which they endlessly call.
RAB naturally operates on a commission-based compensation structure for its collectors, which is very common in the debt-collection industry. The employees are likely uneducated and probably would be working fast food or Wal-Mart type jobs if not employed at RAB. Appparently the calls are “made for them” using predictive dialing software:
It appears that RAB has learned nothing from this FTC suit, and are still using strong-arm tactics to bully debtors and their co-signers.
Using our friend Google, we have now in a matter of minutes learned much valuable information about Regional Adjustment Bureau. To recap:
1. Their employees are mostly poor, uneducated, and desperate, likely generating most of their meager paychecks from settled debt commissions. If not working at RAB, they’d probably be manning the drive-up window at McDonald’s or unloading trucks at Wal-Mart. And when’s the last time you feared or respected the McDonald”s drive-up window dude? Enough said.
2. The RAB employees note high turnover and a miserable “boiler room” style work environment on their Glassdooor reviews.
3. The FTC complaint shows that Regional Adjustment Bureau has a recent track record of shady collection tactics which resulted in a 1.5 million dollar “spanking” from the FTC complaint settlement.
4. Regional Adjustment Bureau have a track record of threatening to collect on expired debts.
Now, we apply this information learned above to our advatnage. First, from the very first phone call, immediately demand written verification of the following:
A. Total balance of the debt;
B. Date the last payment on the debt was made (VERY IMPORTANT);
C. Original Account numbers of the loans.
D. Proof of any assignments of the debt (e.g, bill of sale, assignment of receivables, etc).
E. Name and business address of the current creditor.
Ask for this over the telephone, and also request same in a letter (sent both certified and regular mail) to RAB at their buisness address: Regional Adjustment Bureau, 1900 Charles Bryan Rd, Cordova, TN 38016. Keep a copy of your letter, and make sure to dispute the amount of the debt in its entirety in your letter. Also make sure to keep the green certified mail postcard when you receive same back in the mail. Do not reveal any other information about yourself over the phone. Period. Demand the above and then immediately send the dispute and demand of proof letter to RAB.
Also bear in mind that RAB is not a law firm, and as such RAB cannot themselves file a lawsuit against you. Although they may threaten to “send your file” to litigation, RAB will likely not be in a hurry to do so, since that will mean a guaranteed loss of their commission (the law firm, if they sued, would receive a percentage as a legal fee, but RAB could not share in this as it is illegal for a lawyer to share legal fees with a non-lawyer busienss entity such as RAB).
Also be aware of the risks and pitfalls of entering into a “payment plan” or making any immediate payments over the phone. This is a common trick used by debt collectors to “re-start” an otherwise expired Statute of Limitations. In debt collection law, the Statute of Limitations generally beings ticking from the date the lat payment was made. A lot of the ACS/Access Group student loans handled by RAB provide in the promissory note that Ohio law governs the note. Ohio, like NJ, has a 6 year statute of limitations for debts of this type. If it has been more than 6 years since a payment was made and you then make a small payment to RAB, you may have re-set the statute of limitations by acknowleding and paying towards the debt.
It is true that the original creditor may eventually take your debt away from RAB and send it to a law firm to sue you. However, if you are close to the expiration of the Statute of Limitations, it may make sense to “wait it out.” Also remember that in a lawsuit, there are numerous other defenses and tactics which can be asserted on your behalf by a skilled defense lawyer. And remember that a law firm’s time is very expensive (unlike RAB’s collectors time, which is likely billed at Tennesee state minimum wage or slightly above). Thus, law firms routinely settle collection lawsuits at a discount to save time, especially when a defense attorney is working on your behalf.