WEST VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES FLORIDA COLLECTION AGENCY FOR ALLEGED ILLEGAL COLLECTION PRACTICES
On October 6, 2008, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw sued a Florida collection agency and its president for allegedly engaging in unlawful and coercive debt collection practices. According to the Attorney General, the defendants violated the law by:
- Threatening consumers with arrest;
- Threatening consumers with lawsuits even though the collection agency employed no lawyers and did not file suits of any kid;
- Attempting to collect invalid debts;
- Disclosing personal information about debtors to employers, neighbors, co-workers and family members.
- Collecting debts without a license.
The Attorney General is seeking a preliminary injunction to bar the defendants from conducting any debt collection activity in West Virginia until the case is resolved. The Attorney General is also seeking restitution, debt cancellation and civil penalties.
The suit is the latest battle in the Attorney General’s continuing fight against illegal collection practices. In August, the Attorney General announced that his office had entered into settlements with five collection agencies, four of which were debt purchasers, resulting in $1 million in cancelled debts and refunds for West Virginia consumers. The Attorney General had commenced investigations of the collection agencies after receiving complaints that the agencies were collecting debts without a license and, in certain instances, engaging in other abusive collection practices, such as hounding debtors at work. In May, the Attorney General announced that his office had entered into a settlement with a collector for sending collection letters that threatened to impose attorneys’ fees and collection costs unless accounts were promptly paid in full.
Contact us for more information on the West Virginia Attorney General’s suit and settlements.
- Mike Tomkies and Chuck Gall
DEALING WITH MULTISTATE DEBT COLLECTION COMPLIANCE? We routinely advise on collection-related activities and the regulated activities of creditors, third party debt collectors, debt buyers and loan servicers. We also publish an easy-to-use reference that compiles state and federal laws governing debt collection practices. The DEBT COLLECTION DIGEST is organized topically, includes the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Commentary for easy cross-reference, and covers ADAD and monitoring and recording statutes. The Digest covers both consumer and commercial collections and includes a detailed analysis of statute applicability, as well as supplemental information such as codes of conduct. Creditors, subsequent holders, third party collectors, debt buyers and loan servicers should find the Digest an invaluable resource for collection program development, management and regulatory compliance. Contact us for details.