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FTC Sues Debt Collector for Trying to Collect Old Debts and Reporting False Credit Information

March 8, 2010

Our Corona fair debt collection attorneys work every day with people who are being harassed, insulted or lied to by collection agencies. So we were pleased by a March 3 release from the Federal Trade Commission about a settlement that agency reached with an Ohio agency guilty of serious abuses. Credit Bureau Collection Services, a private company not affiliated with the major credit reporting services, agreed to pay $1.1 million to the FTC to settle the agency's claims against it. The company also agreed to sign a consent decree barring it from further violations of the law, including making untrue or unsupported statements to collect a debt, and trying to collect a debt without investigating a consumer's dispute of the debt.

CBCS and two of its officers, Larry Ebert and Brian Striker, were accused of violating both the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Specifically, the FTC alleged that they failed to investigate disputes from debtors showing that they had already paid off the debts, or were not the people who owed the debts. Furthermore, the defendants allegedly continued to try to collect on those disputed debts without any reasonable basis to do so. They were also accused of reporting information to credit agencies despite disputes or proof that it was not accurate; failing to investigate notices of disputes from credit agencies; and failing to report disputes to the credit agencies. The content decree requires CBCS, Ebert and Striker to refrain from all of these practices and other violations of the two federal laws.

All of this information may sound very dry if you're not familiar with the legal side of credit and collections. But as Fountain Valley debt collection harassment lawyers, we know these practices can ruin the credit of an otherwise responsible person. The credit reporting system relies to some extent on the honesty of those who report credit. If companies like CBCS lie to credit bureaus about a particular individual's credit, that individual will have to do a lot of work to clear his or her name. That's why the FCRA allows the FTC and individuals to sue companies for willful or negligent violations of the law. Similarly, blatant violations of the FDCPA, such as failure to investigate a dispute of a debt, allow victims to sue the violating collection agency.

At Howard Law PC, we represent victims of companies that violate the FDCPA, the FCRA and other consumer protection laws. The FDCPA was enacted specifically because so many debt collectors were using harassment, lies, vulgar language and other unfair or disturbing tactics to get payment. Unfortunately, those tactics seem to work, because debt collectors still routinely violate them. They can and should be prosecuted, but far too many victims don't realize that they have rights, and the FTC has the resources to go after only the largest and most flagrant violators. Our Dana Point debt collection abuse attorneys help victims take unscrupulous debt collectors to court and enforce the law. In addition to stopping the harassing and unfair behavior, victims can claim up to $1,000 in damages, plus attorney fees and repayment of any costs the bad behavior caused.

Howard Law offers free, confidential case evaluations to all potential clients. To set one up, please contact us through the Internet or call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 today.