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JM Associates--Scam or Defunct debt collector, and what do I do if they come back?
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4/21/2010 7:34 AM (PST)

JM Associates contacted me in the summer of 2008 regarding a student debt. They tried to bully me into borrowing $2,000 from my elderly grandmother to keep my name off a list of students not to be admitted to colleges because of bad debts--when I protested that my grandmother doesn't have that kind of money, I was told that someone that old has to have money somewhere. They repeatedly called my landlords (their number is the only one in the phonebook) in spite of my asking them to stop, and denied doing it when I complained. I worked out a payment plan and paid every month on time and even voluntarily upped my payment when I got a raise. When my contract came up for review after six months, they tried to bully me into upping my payment and threatened to take me to court and have my wages garnished when I protested. They also changed my due date without discussing it with me--fortunately I read the fine print. Then one day I went to their website to make my payment and it didn't work. I tried again every day until my due date, at which point I called to make the payment over the phone. The 'Please Hold' recording stopped and started randomly and, after a long time, I was cut off without ever talking to anyone. Repeated attempts to use the website or call failed.
Was this a scam? What do I do if they miraculously reappear and demand that I pay late fees on top of every payment I haven't made?

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Replies: 7
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4/21/2010 9:36 AM (PST)

Pamela,

I found multiple listings for JM Associates in the collection agency industry. You mentioned you have talked to them, do you have their number and/or address or website?

Let me know so I may look further into this for you.

Thank you.

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D
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4/21/2010 10:50 AM (PST)

Yes, this has been a common scam. Shysters use the name of an established collections agency or some other "normal" sounding name and trick people into setting up a bogus payment plan that goes into their own pockets, not towards reducing your debt. Have you checked your credit report? My guess is that your current balance does not reflect any of the payments you have made.

Here are some articles on credit repair and credit reports:

http://www.la.bbb.org/GIReport.aspx?DocumentID=79

http://www.la.bbb.org/GIReport.aspx?DocumentID=165

We're sorry to hear of your experience - let us know if there any further developments.

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4/21/2010 10:57 AM (PST)

They are (were?) at 6600 Jurupa Avenue, Riverside CA. The website has been down so long you can't find it on Google anymore.

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4/21/2010 11:02 AM (PST)

D-

Thanks for the input. It's not on my credit report. I've used the free credit checks with three different companies and not one showed the debt even exists. I don't know what to make of it.

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4/21/2010 11:14 AM (PST)

Pamela,

I linked their BBB report with their well deserved F rating! They have a several complaints about their unethical collection practices, using threats and misconduct to obtain funds from people.

Some had similiar allegations to yours. Click on View BBB Report above and view some of the complaints for yourself.

You can also file your complaint using the BBB report link and contact the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/
since they regulate the collection industry.

Thank you.

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D
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4/21/2010 11:16 AM (PST)

It was a scam, Pamela. May I ask why did you validate the student loan - you had a student loan at one time, right? In the future, know that it's always best to deal with the originating lender.

Check out our info on dealing with collection agencies. This has been on the BBB website for some time, but I've reposted it onto our TrustLink Facebook page for quicker findability:

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?created&&suggest¬e_id=387799254381&id=375303971685

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4/21/2010 12:23 PM (PST)

Thank you for your help everyone!

D- Just for clarification, it was not a loan, it was a debt I owed the school after my loan application fell through.

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