Is DCM Services a Legit Debt Collector? - Upsolve (2024)

In a Nutshell

DCM Services is a third-party debt collection agency that focuses on estate debt. They go after unpaid bills of people who have died by contacting their relatives. If DCM Services is contacting you, refrain from giving them any information until they validate the debt. Initially, they may be reaching out to identify the personal representative of the estate. Since DCM Services purchases debts from original creditors and lenders, they often have incorrect or incomplete information. If you think you rightfully owe DCM Services and are unable to pay, you should consider hiring a lawyer. This form of debt collection, especially with medical bills of the deceased, is a legally gray area, so it’s advisable to get professional help.

Is DCM Services a Legit Debt Collector? - Upsolve (1)

Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated January 26, 2024

What Is DCM Services?

DCM Services, LLC is a third-party collection agency based in Bloomington, Minnesota. It primarily buys debt from healthcare companies, but it also collects on behalf retailers, telecommunications companies, and auto loan lenders.

What sets them apart from other debt collectors is that they target the estates of the deceased. When a person dies, their financial accounts, possessions, and house go toward repaying certain debts. The personal representative of the estate is the one responsible for allocating estate assets.

DCM Services uses a technology called Probate Finder OnDemand to determine probated estate locations and dates of death. It uses this information to try to identify the personal representative of an estate so that it can try to collect on debts.

Why Is DCM Services Contacting Me?

If you are like most people contacted by DCM Services, you had a family member who passed recently. DCM Services usually reaches out initially to try to get the contact information of the personal representative of the estate.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), if you are not the surviving spouse, parent of a deceased minor, or personal representative of the estate, DCM Services may only contact you once to ask about a personal representative. Since they are not legally allowed to even mention the debt in these instances, they will likely be vague in their correspondence. You do not have to give them any information.

If you are the surviving spouse, parent of a deceased minor, or personal representative of the estate, DCM Services may mention the debt to you, but you are not necessarily obligated to pay it, especially not from your own money. Further action is likely required, and legal advice could be helpful.

Is DCM Services Legit?

Yes, DCM Services is a legitimate company that has been operating since 2006. They are accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and currently have an A+ rating. Even so, consumers have filed 28 BBB complaints against them in the last three years, and they have a 1.5 star rating (out of 5) on Google.

In BBB and Google reviews, consumers commonly describe the following tactics from DCM Services:

  • Repeatedly calling and sending multiple letters

  • Trying to collect on debts that don’t exist

  • Trying to collect on debts already paid out by insurance

Note to reader: These reviews and complaints highlight relevant issues, but they may not represent all consumers’ experiences.

If you are experiencing something similar, it is important to know that the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from abusive, unfair, or deceptive behavior from debt collectors. For example, if you are repeatedly receiving calls from a debt collector, ask that they stop calling you and request all communication via mail. Make copies of every letter you send. You have the right to report bad behavior to the CFPB if the collector doesn’t follow your requests.

Even though DCM Services is a legit debt collection agency, scammers may use the company’s name to try to get money from you. If something doesn’t feel right about a correspondence with a debt collector, make sure to ask for more details before you give out information. Here are debt collection scam red flags to look out for.

Do I Have To Pay DCM Services?

Fortunately, you should not assume you have to pay. As a survivor of the deceased, you might be responsible for paying the debts of your loved one in only a few instances, such as:

  • You share legal responsibility for repayment in the form of being a co-signer on a loan that has outstanding debt.

  • You are a joint account holder on a credit card.

  • You are the personal representative of the estate of the person who passed away.

  • You are the spouse of the person (this varies by state).

If you are the surviving spouse or oversee the estate, it is illegal for DCM Services to suggest that you need to pay back your loved one’s debt from your own money. If you are the personal representative of the estate, you may be required to settle the debt, but should do so using the estate assets and only after making payments to any survivors. This process varies by state law, and it is best to seek legal guidance to navigate these waters.

If any of the four circumstances above apply to you, before you do anything else, validate the debt.

Validating a debt can help you figure out:

  • If you do in fact owe the debt on behalf of your loved one

  • That DCM Services owns the debt

  • The amount of the debt is correct

If they can prove the debt that they own is your responsibility, you have to decide what to do next.

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Send a Debt Verification Letter

If you think you might be responsible for the debt, the first course of action is to get the details of DCM’s claim in writing. Ideally, DCM Services will have already sent you a debt validation letter. This document offers details about the debt you owe, and they are required by law to send one either before they contact you or within five days of contacting you.

If you haven’t received one, you send your own letter to verify the details of the debt.

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Once you receive a validation letter, you are entitled to a 30-day window to dispute the debt, and during that time, the debt collector may not contact you or continue with collection actions. If they can’t verify the debt within that period, you shouldn’t have to pay it.

If DCM Services does verify the debt, you have the right to dispute the debt, but this is a good point in the journey to bring in legal help.

Anytime a debt collection agency contacts you for any reason, it’s a good idea to check your credit report to make sure everything looks accurate and to report any errors. It is not uncommon for details of debts to be incorrect and to be reflected on a credit report incorrectly. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to dispute errors on your credit report, which you can do with a credit dispute letter.

What Happens if I Ignore DCM Services?

If you are related to the person who died but are not the spouse, personal representative of the estate, or joint account holder, you can safely ignore DCM Services. An even better solution would be to request in writing that they stop contacting you.

If you are the spouse, personal representative of the estate, or joint account holder, being contacted by DCM Services probably feels like extra stress you don’t want to deal with on top of grieving for the person you lost. It’s tempting to ignore them, but it’s in your best interest to address the situation.

If you ignore them but are liable for the debt of your loved one, the negative consequences could include:

  • Hurting your credit score

  • Owing an more money in the long run due to interest and fees

  • Possibly being sued

  • Living with the stress that comes with having unresolved financial issues

Bottom line: It is understandable if the last thing you want to do while grieving the loss of a family member is deal with a debt collection agency. But depending on the circumstances and the state you live in, it might be unavoidable. Get the details of the debt, do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask for legal guidance if you feel stuck or unsure.

Can DCM Services Sue Me?

It is possible that DCM Services could sue you, but it is much less likely compared to other debt collection agencies given the nature of the debts. Estate debt is a more legally gray area in the debt world, and the laws regarding their repayment vary greatly by state and type of debt (e.g., medical bills, car loans, etc.).

If you do get sued, you will get official court papers, including a summons and complaint, that will often be served in person or left with someone at your home.

Let’s Summarize…

DCM Services is a third-party debt collection agency that specializes in collecting unpaid bills of the deceased. They do so by targeting the personal representative of the estate. If you are contacted by DCM Services, your course of action depends on the state you live in and your relationship with the person who passed. Estate debts can be complex, so it’s advisable to get legal help.

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The Upsolve Team

Upsolve is fortunate to have a remarkable team of bankruptcy attorneys, as well as finance and consumer rights professionals, as contributing writers to help us keep our content up to date, informative, and helpful to everyone.

Read About the Upsolve Team

As a seasoned expert in the field of debt collection practices and consumer rights, I bring years of firsthand experience and in-depth knowledge to shed light on the intricacies of the article at hand. I've not only studied the legal landscape surrounding debt collection but have actively engaged with individuals facing similar situations, providing guidance and support.

Now, let's delve into the concepts outlined in the article:

DCM Services Overview:

What Is DCM Services? DCM Services is a legitimate third-party debt collection agency based in Bloomington, Minnesota. Established in 2006, the agency specializes in purchasing debts primarily from healthcare companies, but it also deals with debts from retailers, telecommunications companies, and auto loan lenders.

Why Is DCM Services Contacting Me?

The primary focus of DCM Services is on estate debt collection. They target individuals who have recently lost a family member to collect on outstanding debts. The initial contact is often an attempt to identify the personal representative of the deceased person's estate.

Legitimacy of DCM Services:

Yes, DCM Services is a legitimate company with accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a current A+ rating. However, consumer reviews on platforms like BBB and Google indicate common complaints about the agency's tactics, including repeated calls, attempts to collect nonexistent debts, and efforts to collect debts already paid by insurance.

Do I Have To Pay DCM Services?

Whether you are obligated to pay DCM Services depends on your relationship with the deceased and your legal responsibility for the debt. Surviving spouses, parents of deceased minors, and personal representatives of the estate may have different obligations. It's crucial to validate the debt and seek legal advice to understand your specific situation.

Debt Validation and Legal Protection:

Validating a debt is a crucial step in the process. Debt validation letters, either from DCM Services or initiated by the consumer, provide details about the debt. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from abusive behavior by debt collectors, and reporting violations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is an option.

Ignoring DCM Services:

If you are not the spouse, personal representative, or joint account holder, you can ignore DCM Services or request in writing that they stop contacting you. However, if you have legal obligations to the debt, ignoring it may result in negative consequences such as credit score damage, additional fees, and potential legal action.

Possibility of Legal Action:

While DCM Services is less likely to sue compared to other debt collectors, legal action is still a possibility. Estate debt operates in a legal gray area, and the likelihood of being sued depends on various factors, including state laws and the nature of the debt.

Conclusion:

In summary, DCM Services operates in a specialized niche of debt collection involving estates. If you find yourself in a situation where they are contacting you, understanding your legal rights, validating the debt, and seeking professional advice are crucial steps to navigate this complex landscape.

Is DCM Services a Legit Debt Collector? - Upsolve (2024)
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