Traffic fines, past due student loans, fees from other government entities… if your debt falls into any of these categories, Alliance One is a possible debt collector you will have to deal with. Unlike some other debt collectors, Alliance One does not purchase old debts, but instead works as a contractor for other companies or government entities, collecting a percentage of what they are able to recover as their payment.
Because they are essentially working for “free” in this instance – if you don’t pay up, they don’t get paid – Alliance One does not have the consumer’s best interests at heart when they attempt to collect. There have been online reports of withheld information, of continued harassing phone calls, and other unscrupulous activities.
Alliance One and Government Collections
However, Alliance One is quick to maintain on their site that the actual incidence of legal violations is “low to zero” and many city, county and state governments rely on them to collect fines – including fines for such offenses as Failure to Show in court for traffic violations. What’s worse is that types of debts may not be covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) because they may not be considered a “debt” as defined by the Act:
” § 803. Definitions
(5) The term ‘debt’ means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment.”
This puts Alliance One directly in control of whether or not you can have your driver’s license reinstated, should you have the misfortune of forgetting to pay a traffic ticket! And as many people have found out the hard way, Alliance One seldom agrees to a partial payment.
Legal Problems and Alliance One
Because Alliance One often operates directly within the courthouse, people are unable to resolve their issues with the court without going through the collection agency, even though the staff members of Alliance One are not actual government employees.
However, Alliance One has been found guilty of violations of the FDCPA at least once – the class action case of Phyllis Salters vs. Alliance One Receivables Management states:
“The settlement resolves a lawsuit over whether AllianceOne Receivables Management, Inc. “AllianceOne”) sent debt collections letters to consumers that did not comport with the statutory requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §1692a, et seq.”
Alliance One and Consumer Debt
Government agencies aren’t the only institutions that use Alliance One to collect on past due debt, so if you have a consumer debt that gets picked up by Alliance One, know that the FDCPA still applies and still protects you.
Steps to Protect Yourself
- Check your credit report. Always make sure that Alliance One has not attempted to re-age the debt. If the debt is too old to be shown on your credit report, Alliance One cannot legally add an entry onto your report.
- Request validation of the debt within 30 days of the first letter. All collection activity by Alliance One must stop until they send you written verification of the debt.
- Dispute any inaccurate information. This includes the amount of the debt, the dates of the debt, the original creditor and so on – if it is inaccurate, dispute it, or hire a credit repair specialist to take care of the disputes on your behalf.
- Be aware that Alliance One may not be as willing to negotiate as other creditors, because they generally do not purchase debts. So they have little financial incentive to cut a deal, as any decrease in the amount they collect will also decrease what they are paid by their clients. In some instances, you may have more luck going to the clients directly.
- For old debts, educate yourself as to the statute of limitations (SOL) for collections in your state. If the SOL has already passed, Alliance One cannot sue you to recover the debt.
If you are trying to repair your credit and remove a listing from Alliance One, it may require professional assistance. Because their practices are different from other debt collectors in some instances, it can be beneficial to have professional assistance as you work to repair your credit. Whatever you do, don’t wait around – start your credit repair as soon as possible if you want to have the most options for a positive end result.