Threats of arrest, lawsuits and unending harassment seem to fill the playbooks of Central Asset Bureau, a debt collection agency in San Antonio.
Better Business Bureau issued a warning to consumers after receiving numerous complaints from across the country about the company’s debt collection tactics. Most of the consumers allege the debt Central Asset Bureau is attempting to collect is not even valid.
In addition, the debt collection agency has provided fake addresses and, consumers allege, has refused to provide documentation on the debts it is trying to collect.
BBB attempted to contact Central Asset Bureau about the disputes, but phone calls were not answered and mail was returned.
One of the addresses on file was on Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway — a highway that does not exist in San Antonio. When a BBB representative visited another address on file, she found no listing for Central Asset Bureau in the building’s directory. Another business occupied the suite number the company provided.
Candice Havemann, of Bellville, Texas, said she has been receiving calls from Central Asset Bureau for four years.
She has changed her phone number, her mailing address and her bank information. She has had family members call posing as an attorney. She asked for supervisors and written proof the company owned her debt.
The phone calls continued despite her efforts.
She said Central Asset Bureau claimed it was collecting on an unpaid payday loan. And, while she admits to taking out such a loan 10 years ago, she said she paid it in full with the very first paycheck she received after taking out the loan.
She even called the company that provided the loan and obtained proof the debt was paid, but that did not stop the calls, either.
“They’ve been leaving messages with my employer, with my parents, with my husband, with my in-laws,” Havemann said. “They’re saying that I have a restraining order against me and they’ll be sending someone to pick me up and take me to jail.”
She finally filed complaints with BBB, the Austin County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Trade Commission and her local police department, among other agencies.
“I’ve got a whole packet of information about people I’ve reported them to,” she said.
The last time the company called, she added, was in May, around the time she filed her complaint with BBB.
“When the sheriff’s department called them, I think that scared them,” she said.
She hopes it will be the last time she ever hears from Central Asset Bureau.
BBB offers the following advice to consumers who receive suspicious telephone calls about an outstanding debt:
- Demand proof. Ask the debt collector to provide official documentation which substantiates the debt.
- Avoid providing personal information over the phone. Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone until you have confirmed the legitimacy of the call.
- Report all suspicious behavior. File a complaint with BBB or the Texas Attorney General’s Office if the caller is abusive, uses threats or otherwise violates federal telemarketing laws.