Atlanta residents, beware of deceptive debt collection tactics
When Georgia residents are being harassed in any way by debt collectors, it is time to seek legal counsel from a reputable attorney. Many of the tactics that debt collectors use to try to collect debts are illegal. Debt collectors do not have the right to call people repeatedly, to use threatening or abusive language, or to lie about how much a person owes.
A group of debt collection firms have recently been fined $1 million for using abusive debt collection tactics. The companies used the name “National Attorney Service” while carrying out deceptive, illegal debt collection practices.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the deceptive practices included the following:
- National Attorney Service sent text messages to consumers, threatening to initiate lawsuits or garnish wages.
- National Attorney Service contacted the family members and friends of debtors to make accusations about the debtors.
- The debt collectors made threats of arrest and imprisonment.
- The collectors sent letters to consumers, addressed to their employers, with the subject of debt collection indicated on the envelopes.
- The consortium represented itself as a law firm or legal company, though it was no such thing.
All of these tactics are illegal under federal law. Debt collectors cannot contact a consumer’s friends, family or employer about the consumer’s private financial business. Debt collectors also cannot legally harass consumers or pretend to be law firms.
In addition to the $1 million punishment, the consortium was ordered to stop going by any name that would indicate it is a law firm or legal service.
Georgia residents should not have to put up with the types of harassment and bullying mentioned here. People who are in debt do have rights, and legal options, and no company has the right to bully debtors. Consumers should contact debt relief attorneys in order to learn about their options and to put a stop to creditor and collector harassment.
Source: Huffington Post, “Debt Collectors Using Terrible New Tactic Get Fined $1 Million,” Chris Kirkham, Sept. 26, 2013.