Blog Enforcement Watch March 29, 2016

West Virginia Attorney General Secures $20 Million Settlement Against Debt Collector

​On March 21, the West Virginia Attorney General’s office announced​ that it had settled allegations against a debt collector over alleged violations of the West Virginia Collection Agency Act, W. Va. Code §§ 47-16-1 (“Collection Agency Act”) and the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, W. Va. Code §§ 46A-1-101 (“WVCCPA”).  The Attorney General’s office alleged that the debt collector engaged in debt collection practices without the required state license and surety bond, in violation of the Collection Agency Act.  The debt collector also allegedly violated the WVCCPA by engaging in abusive and harassing communications, failing to identify the account holder in dunning letters, and reporting certain unverified debts to credit reporting agencies.  Under the settlement agreement, approved by a West Virginia state court on February 10, the debt collector agreed to unilaterally dismiss all civil actions filed against affected consumers and to refrain from engaging in other collection activities against consumers, which the Attorney General has alleged will result in the debt collector ceasing collection on $19.7 million in debt for 2,847 consumers.  The settlement agreement also requires the debt collector to pay a $350,000 civil money penalty.