World’s Largest Debt Collector Pays the Price for Harassing Consumers
If you’re behind in paying your bills, or a creditor’s records mistakenly show that you are, a debt collector may contact you. You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors. They can't use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices to collect from you. That includes making harassing phone calls. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, that’s just what the world’s largest debt collection operation did.
The FTC recently settled a case against Expert Global Solutions and its subsidiaries (including NCO Financial Systems) for calling consumers again, and again, and again. The companies called many times a day, or for weeks on end. They called:
- after being asked to stop
- after they promised to stop
- early in the morning
- late at night
- at people’s workplaces — when they knew the employers prohibited the calls.
Expert Global Solutions and its subsidiaries even left voicemails for other people that gave the debtor’s name and said that the person owed money. What’s more, the companies never verified the accuracy of the disputed information, even after the consumers said they didn’t owe the debt.
So now, Expert Global Solutions has to pay the price for breaking the law, to the tune of a $3.2 million civil penalty, and play by the rules going forward. That civil penalty is the largest the FTC has ever obtained against a third-party debt collector.
It's important to understand your rights if you're ever contacted by a debt collector, and to complain to the FTC if you believe a collector has violated those rights. Your complaint gives us a lead to follow up on, and may stop it from happening to someone else.