On January 9, 2018, Georgia’s Office of the Attorney General (AG) announced that it reached a settlement with a debt collector and its owner for $8.8 million over allegedly illegal collection activities.
According to the AG, the debt collector employed false and deceptive practices in violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. Specifically, the AG claims that the debt collector’s representatives “harassed and deceived consumers” in order to collect on unpaid debts by, among other things, threatening jail time and lawsuits, and by falsely implying that they were attorneys rather than debt collectors.
The settlement requires the company to cease its collections on 10,922 accounts, totaling $8,790,560.73 in consumer debt, all of which the company must relinquish control of to the AG. The settlement also imposed a civil penalty of $20,000 and requires the company to comply with applicable law going forward. It further imposes an additional penalty of $23,000 should the company violate any part of the settlement within a five-year monitoring period.