SLEAZY DEBT COLLECTOR AWARD GOES TO EQUITY EXPERTS.
Equity Experts and its sleazy practices
Equity Experts is a collection agency that focuses on collecting for condominium and homeowner associations. As a debt collector, its practices fall far short of what a decent debt collector’s practices should be.
If you are a member of a condominium or homeowner association and fall behind on paying your association dues, beware if Equity Experts contacts you. According to its website, it collects on behalf of associations, “without the up-front costs and risks associated with standard association collections.” However, that message is for the associations for which it hopes to do business; it is not for the homeowners. As a debt collector, Equity Experts charges its collection fees to the homeowner and adds them to the total cost of the collection. In many instances, they charge fees and costs to homeowners that are illegal.
Equity Experts violates homeowners’ rights under the law
As a third-party debt collector attempting to collect homeowner’s association dues, Equity Experts is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Under this law, a debt collector cannot collect any fee or charge that is not based on the law or contract. This means that Equity Experts may only charge you fees and costs for which there is a statute or that is provided for in your condominium association documents such as the by-laws. In many instances, Equity Experts charges people according to their own fee schedule which has no relationship with either a statute or your by-laws. As debt collectors, they are breaking the law.
We have sued Equity Experts numerous times for these very same violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In fact, in one case, we made them pay $50,000 because their conduct was so outrageous. (Note, you should not expect to get this amount or any other particular amount of money if we pursue Equity Experts on your behalf.)
If Equity Experts contacts you to collect unpaid association dues, you will quickly find out how they do business. First, Equity Experts sends the homeowner a “pre-lien” notice, for which it charges the homeowner $270.00. It adds that charge to the unpaid association dues it seeks to collect from the homeowner. If the homeowner does not pay the full amount within a prescribed period of time, Equity Experts then records a lien against the property and charges the homeowner an additional $395.00. If the homeowner still has not paid the unpaid association dues, plus the additional collection fees assessed by Equity Experts, then Equity Experts (according to its website) “will send weekly letters to the homeowner urging them to respond before their account escalates further” and “we will also make several weekly attempts to contact the homeowner by phone or email.” For these efforts, the homeowner will be charged another $350.00 on top of the previous charges. If Equity Experts ultimately files a lawsuit against you or seeks to foreclose on your property, the total collection costs will be in the thousands of dollars. (Equity Experts charges a flat rate of $2,995.00 for its “final enforcement package” in Michigan).
If you are contacted by Equity Experts, contact us immediately.
If Equity Experts has contacted you to collect unpaid association fees, do not ignore them, as you will quickly find that the amount they seek to collect from you will increase by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. By the time the fees begin to escalate on top of each other, you may have a lien against your property.
If you have been contacted by Equity Experts contact us at Credit Repair Lawyers of America. Call Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (888) 293-2882 or email him at [email protected]. The call and consultation are free. If we have to file a lawsuit on your behalf, we will collect our fees and costs from Equity Experts so it costs you nothing.
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