A report by CNN (http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/18/news/debt-collectors-arrest/) reveals that the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are beginning to crack down on debt collectors. Debt collection agencies, including William, Scott & Associates, are going well beyond just harassing phone calls—and finally, it’s not just the consumer on the other end of the phone that is taking notice. Federal agents in Georgia arrested John Todd William, founder of William, Scott & Associates, along with six other employees, for running a $4.1 million debt collection scam that targeted more than 6,000 consumers across the United States.
What Practices Did William, Scott & Associates Engage In?
This particular debt collection agency went well beyond annoying and harassing phone calls; they routinely bullied, threatened, and tricked consumers by falsely claiming to work for law enforcement agencies. They would also threaten that the consumer would be arrested if they failed to make an immediate payment.
Under Federal Law, It Is Illegal For Debt Collectors To Use Abusive, Unfair, Or Deceptive Tactics To Pressure Consumers To Pay.
Debt collectors, nonetheless, have been using increasingly aggressive tactics such as falsely claiming to work for the U.S. Justice Department, the Marshalls Service, and using legal terms that were actually meaningless, just to coerce consumers. As one FBI agent states, debt collectors that engage in these types of tactics are “nothing more than bullies with bogus badges.”
War Dialing Is Abusive
Many debt collectors employ “War dialing” which involves the use of automated telephone dialing systems to blow up consumers’ land lines and cell phones. If the collector is robo dialing and/or leaving artificial or pre-recorded voice messages to a consumer’s cell phone without permission than it may be violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act exposing itself to statutory damages of $500-$1500 per call.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
In 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was given authority to oversee and regulate some of the largest debt collection agencies in the United States. However, it’s a big job and, according to a study by the Urban Institute, approximately 77 million people are behind on their debt and have creditors breathing down their necks.
Rex Anderson has successfully litigated and repeatedly won awards for clients who were being harassed by debt collectors; and now, federal authorities are cracking down, too. If you have been contacted by a debt collection agency and feel you were treated unfair, threatened, or lied to, you can reach Rex at:
Rex Anderson, P.C.
9459 Lapeer Rd., Ste 101
Davison, MI 48423