Thursday, 2 August 2012

ACM Group debt collection or harassment

 ACM Group Australia

WARNING-these people are ruthless and very rude-they prey on your lack of knowledge

They are known as ACM Group. Thay are a debt purchasing and collection service who claim to be highly professional. Following is the story of the experience of a close personal friend who had the misfortune of dealing with this "professional" debt collection company.
The debt is question was a Telstra phone account belonging to Mr J. The debt of about $1500 was included in his bankruptcy and hence no longer payable or enforcable. Telstra had never made any attempt to contact Mr J or his wife who was a contact on the account and had other accounts with telstra. Approx 18 months after the bankruptcy Mrs J had reason to check her credit file which indicated a default had been placed by Telstra for this account. Long story made short Telstra denied the listing and the outstanding account even though someone had placed the default. After spending months of dealing with Telstra to no avail Mr J referred the matter to the Telecommunication Ombudsman.
After going through the process which took about 2 months the ombudsman determined that the account was indeed in the name of Mr J and the default had been incorrectly placed on the Mrs file and it was removed. No explaination or apology was ever received from Telstra.
A further 6 months passed when Mrs started to receive calls to her mobile from someone leaving messages saying she needed to contact them urgently with regards to reference number xxxxxxxx which just happened to match the Telstra account number. This of course caused her to panic and she rang back immediately to get some answers. At first the company would not identify who they were only that they were representing Telstra for an unpaid account. Once realising what was going on Mrs asked them to fax the details of the account so she could verify as she was on the understanding this account belonged to Mr who was now bankrupt. The consultant became rather upset on being questioned and promised to forward the account. 
The calls continued at least every two days for the following month but despite continuous request no account information was forwarded. At one point their 12yo daughter was receiving calls to her mobile as well as being told on the home phone that mum had to pay her bills. During this Telstra was contacted many times and of course same story pass the buck no records ect ect till one day someone admitted the debt had been sold to ACM Group for an undisclosed sum. Telstra could no longer give any details as the debt was no longer owing to them.
Month later a copy of a bill arrived at Mrs home address-interesting as this was never given out. More interesting the account showed her current details at the top even though she had only lived there for a few months. Unfortunantly Mr & Mrs could not produce an old copy of the account as these had been destroyed when the family business went bust.
The calls and harassment had become so bad that it was decided to take the matter to a solicitor for some advice. It was agreed that he would send a letter advising ACM that they were beaching the privacy act and all contact now needed to be in writing. It will be noted that Mr & Mrs received no further contact from ACM group and a default was relisted on Mrs credit file immediately. All contact with Telstra was met with total denial of any debt or responsibility. 
A formal complaint was made with the complaints division of ACM group which was met with the simple reply amounting to no more than do what you like he (the ombudsman) cannot help you. A new complaint was lodged with the telecommunications ombudsman a few days later. The proceedure took about 6 months to complete but ended with a written apology from Telstra including the removal of the default and a guarantee the debt was now finalised. The apology from ACM Group was never received.
December 2011-  this mob never gives up. Calls have started again. Pay within 3 days or the amount will be default listed. Better prepared for them this time. Calmly explained that this bill no longer exists which we can prove with letters from Telstra. ACM group operator was not interested and actually accused us of forging the documents. You can see why they will not put anything in writing.These call were being made at least twice a day and the caller was very rude.
Made a call to the contact we have a the TIO(ombudsman) who said they would have Telstra contact us within a few days. This happened with 24 hours. Telstra said they would contact ACM and we should notify them if the calls continued. At this stage nothing further has been heard.

Be careful when having any type of dealings with this company. Everything you say is recorded to their advantage. Never admit to anything and insist that the relevent information be sent to you by email only. Tell them unless this is done you are not prepared to act any further on a debt which you know nothing about. If you do not have an email account set one up on google gmail it is free and simple. I always use a separate account for this type of thing. When dealing with them for the first time remember do not panic and try to remain calm. They cannot take your house or personal items until a very long and tiresome process has been followed. If a default is listed on your credit file without following due proceedure it will have to be removed anyway which costs them money. Take time to think about your next move and tell them to call you back at a time that suits you.
WARNING do not just try to ignore them. They will continue to call on any and every number they can associate with you including work and family. I have been told they have even used social media to gain access to people. At the moment I am dealing with about 10 complaints against this firm and will take the required action if need be. If you are threatened or feel unsafe always call your local police they can advise what to do. 

1 comment:

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