On April 4, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (“Georgia AG”) announced an $8.5 million settlement with a national debt collector, resolving allegations that the company violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.
The Georgia AG had alleged that the company harassed and deceived consumers by falsely representing to consumers that they were attorneys and that the consumers had committed a crime, and by threatening consumers with imprisonment. The company also allegedly collected or attempted to collect payday loan debt, which is illegal in Georgia, and failed to disclose to consumers that they were debt collectors.
The settlement requires that the company stop collecting on nearly 12,000 accounts, totaling over $8.5 million in consumer debt. The company also has to pay a $20,000 civil penalty and comply with the FDCPA and Georgia Fair Business Practices Act going forward. If anytime in the next three years the company violates the settlement, it will owe an additional $240,000 civil penalty.