What You Need to Know and How to Protect yourself
By John David Balla
The City of Sedona’s wealth extraction policies just may be working too well. So well, in fact, that they are beginning to backfire.
Wealth extraction, i.e., profiting by destroying businesses and communities while providing no value in return — more commonly known as Vampire or Vulture Capitalism — seems, one would think, to be a Wall Street play implemented by the Big Boys to make Big Boy Money. As such, sleepy little towns like Sedona are too “bush league” to be effected, right? Think again.
Revenue Discovery Services, commonly known as RDS, is part of Wall Street conglomerate Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc (Nasdaq:PRAA), the City’s current contracted debt collector.
While on it’s face, their mission appears legitimate, in practice, they are incentivized to destroy businesses, homeowners, and even entire economies, because by doing so they increase their market and profits. In other words, they have a vested interest to create situations that create more delinquencies.
And with 1,303 Better Business Bureau (BBB) logged complaints over the past three years, along with 36 lawsuits filed against them in March 2013 alone (for allegations of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) — See — we are not talking about isolated incidents, but rather systemic behavior whereby fraud, intimidation, or negative campaigning to turn an otherwise solvent company or residence into a deadbeat customer, may be just another day at the office. Whether these actions are legal or not seems of little concern to RDS.
Is the City’s contract with RDS a tacit admission that it’s economic policies will likely afford even more financial hardship to an economy that is already floundering, or is it just a matter of misguided outsourcing? One only knows. Maybe it’s a bit of both.
But in any case, the City/RDS partnership is a textbook example of of systemic WEALTH EXTRACTION. Money is made by destroying businesses, and the profits are literally extracted from the community by RDS to use for whatever purpose suits them.
This can rightly be called a vampire/victim arrangement whereby the City becomes a willing — albeit unwittingly — donor to RDS WEALTH EXTRACTION initiative.
RDS Harassment Tactics…
Types of harassment routinely carried about by RDS that you should know about include…
- Phone calls made early in the morning or late at night
- Calling numerous times each week (or multiple times per day)
- Contacting friends and family members
- Making threats for the sole purpose of intimidation, often without legal authority
- Threatening to sue or garnish wages, which is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
- Being harassed because of mistaken identity
- Being harassed because a your phone number was once owned by the person who owes the debt
- For more information on RDS harassment tactics, check out J. Rick Normand’s article, “Sedona without vision is a brand without value.”
Because you have the legal right to do so, you should insist that RDS provide documentation that proves you owe a debt. Once you receive documentation, you have 30 days to dispute the debt claim via written letter to RDS’ parent company, Portfolio Recovery Associates. Once you do so, neither RDS nor its associated companies, including PRA, are allowed to contact you.
For more information on knowing your rights, how to protect yourself, and how to file a complaint, please visit… .
But bear in mind this…
Just because you’re a solvent business or household does not immunize you from harassment and anti-business tactics. As such, it’s best to stay vigilant.
About the author
John David Balla is a business consultant, Internet marketer, author, songwriter, music producer, eBook analyst and designer, and entrepreneur. Prior to moving to Sedona in 2003, John consulted some of the world’s largest corporations and government entities, including Microsoft, IBM, XEROX PARC, John Hancock, Chase, the United States Postal Office, the Georgia State Assembly, and several local county governments in northern Illinois. He has a BA in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Economics. He can be reached by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mayor and Council’s wealth-extraction policies are harming businesses and residents, as well as running the City into the ground financially.
The City Council’s spend, spend, spend agenda and its neglect of drainage issues have manufactured a need for $20.29 million in General Obligation Bonds (GO-Bonds) over the next 10 years, OR, Special Improvement Districts. Both were discussed during last Tuesday’s Council meeting, with more meetings to come.
It is clear the Council refuses to prioritize and cut down on its non-WW capital project list in order to eliminate the trumped-up need for new taxes and so as to enable self-paying of drainage projects.
To provide an idea of the type of non-drainage projects our City Council insists upon pursuing, I’ve taken three from the City’s 4-page,10-year Capital Improvement Program listing. Feasibility Study for a Multi-Purpose Facility at the WWTP, Bike Skills Park, Park Land Acquisition (Creek Access/Walk/Park, old ADOT property at the “Y,” property on Brewer Road are possibilities).
With an added financial burden, what horrors might residents and businesses having unexpected difficulties paying their bills face from RDS?
We now know what to expect and how to protect ourselves. Thank you, John, for your RDS Harassment Tactics list.
Poor article – what are they doing, and to whom, details please rather than vague statements and opinions.
I Asked Mr. Balla What RDS Is Involved Besides SaleS Tax. No Reply. Weak Article.
RDS is the collectin arm for the city. Past taxes, sewer fees unpaid, fines for offence violtions, possibly uncollected traffic ticket fines, building fines and uncollected building fees, any transactions involvng citizens and the city of Sedona.