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Debt Collectors Fined $3.2 Million by Federal Trade Commission

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Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined a debt collector $3.2 million for using abusive and illegal debt collection techniques.  This fine is the largest the FTC has ever imposed on a third-party debt collector.  It was imposed on Expert Global Solutions and its subsidiaries that include NCO Financial Systems, Inc., ALW Sourcing, LLC, Transworld Systems, Inc. and North Shore Agency, Inc.  The fine was imposed because the debt collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the FTC Act in several ways:

  • Calling consumers multiple times a day
  • Calling consumers after being asked to stop
  • Calling consumers early in the morning or late at night
  • Calling consumers’ employers, when they knew such calls were prohibited
  • Leaving phone messages disclosing consumers’ names and the existence of the debt to third-parties
  • Continuing to collect the debt without validating the debt when consumers asked for validation (verification)

The debt collector agreed to stop all such illegal conduct in the future.  In addition, they agreed to implement certain specified procedures if a consumer disputes the validity of the debt or the amount of the debt.

Many people do not realize that abusive debt collection techniques are illegal, even if they owe the money the debt collector is trying to collect.  A federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, misleading or deceptive tactics in trying to collect debt.  However, the FDCPA generally applies to debt collectors who are trying to collect debts on behalf of another company; this includes debt collection attorneys.  The law generally does not apply to original creditors, who are the banks and credit card companies who initially provided the money for the purchases.  The good news is that Florida has a similar law, called the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) that DOES apply to banks and credit card companies, as well as other types of debt collectors.

If you believe you’ve been harassed, abused or lied to by a debt collector, call us for a free consultation.  We’ll be happy to explain your rights, including any remedies you may have under the FDCPA, FCCPA, or other applicable laws.  Wouldn’t it be great to finally stop the debt collectors from calling?  We can help.