Florida AG Bill McCullom Suing Debt Collectors, Apparently On Behalf Of Consumers!
Those of you in Florida, do some reading up on the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Contact the AG's office to see whether Florida has any specific state laws governing debt collectors and creditors with consumer protections that go beyond the FCRA and FDCPA.
Debt collectors sued for $1.3 million A Jacksonville agency was probed after 130 complaints were filed. By J. Taylor Rushing, Capital Bureau Chief
TALLAHASSEE - A Jacksonville debt collection agency was sued for more than $1.3 million Monday by State Attorney General Bill McCollum on claims the agency was impersonating attorneys and state officials, threatening arrests and collecting excessive fees.
The lawsuit was filed in Duval County against Bass Prelitigation Services Inc.; a related company, Jackson Phillips & Associates; and the owners of both firms, Frank and Evelyn Jackson.
It seeks an unknown amount in restitution payments plus $1.3 million in penalties, or $10,000 for each violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, plus dissolution of the companies and a permanent injunction against future collection businesses.
The Times-Union did not receive a response to two messages left with company receptionists Monday.
A total of 130 complaints about the company have been received by the attorney general's Economic Crimes Division since January 2006, with most coming since October. Investigators opened a probe in November. McCollum's lawsuit claims the company knew it was being investigated, yet continued its "abusive tactics."
"Consumers under financial burdens deserve our protection and consideration, not the predatory nature of these allegations," McCollum said in a statement.
According to the lawsuit, those tactics included sending employees to pose as government investigators; extorting money from consumers by threatening arrest; claiming and collecting excessive payments; and abusing or harassing consumers, such as calling them at work. All are illegal under state law.