The attorney general of Georgia recently reached a settlement with the debt collection firm of Williamson & McKevie, LLC. The $8.8 million settlement resolved charges against the debt collector which violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.
Charges Against the Debt Collector
The debt collector was charged with numerous violations of the law. These violations included: (1) threatening arrest or imprisonment if a debtor failed to pay; (2) falsely representing that consumers had committed criminal acts and that a lawsuit was about to be filed unless the debt was paid; (3) falsely implying that representatives were attorneys rather than disclosing that they were, in fact, debt collectors; (4) contacting third parties and divulging information about the debtors’ accounts; and (5) failing to disclose that they were attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained would be used for that purpose. These actions were violations of state and federal law.
In addition to the payment of money damages, the settlement stops the debt collector from collecting on 10,922 accounts for debt that the debt collector “bought” and was collecting upon. A civil penalty of $20,000.00 will have to be paid and the debt collector will be monitored for a five-year period. If any further violations occur, an additional penalty of $230,000.00 will be due and payable immediately.
This Is Not New
This case is a prime example of how some debt collectors violate the law in trying to collect debts from consumers. Federal law, along with the laws of many states, regulate how debts are collected and provide penalties for debt collectors who break the law. In many instances, individual consumers can directly sue an abusive debt collector and obtain an award of money damages for the unlawful conduct. In most instances, all the fees of the consumer’s attorney must be paid by the debt collector. So, the consumer does not have to incur attorney’s fees to vindicate their rights.
If you have been suffering from abusive debt collection tactics like those mentioned above, you don’t have to suffer any longer. The best action to take is to contact a reputable consumer protection attorney and have your situation analyzed. You should not delay in seeking help because there are short statutes of limitation on many of these type claims. The attorneys at Bond & Botes are available to help you. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.