Consumer Finance Insights
November 24, 2021

New York Attorney General Shuts Down Buffalo Debt Collection Firm

On November 23, 2021, the New York Attorney General (“NYAG”) announced an agreement shutting down a Buffalo, NY based debt collection firm that the NYAG alleges violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (“FDCPA”), the Consumer Financial Protection Act (“CFPA”), and various provisions of the New York General Business Laws.  After conducting an investigation into the firm’s debt collection, debt brokerage, and payment processing practices, the NYAG’s office is requiring the firm and its affiliates to permanently cease operations. In addition to the shut-down of operations, the NYAG required the firm to pay $1.2 million in restitution and penalties.

In the agreement, the NYAG specifically alleges that the firm engaged in illegal debt collection tactics like: falsely implying that collectors were attorneys or law enforcement; collectors threatening to suspend consumer’s driver’s licenses; and collectors threatening criminal action.  The agreement requires the firm and its affiliates to dissolve within six months of the agreement’s effective date.  In her statement announcing the agreement, Attorney General Letitia James said “[w]hile illegal debt collectors have used Buffalo as their hub of operations for illicit conduct for years, we are continuing to fight back and shut down these companies one by one.”  Consumers who were the subject of the threatening behavior from the firm are entitled to recover in restitution.

This investigation relates to a 2019 investigation and settlement conducted by the NYAG and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”).

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