Eye On Boise

Debt collection firm agrees to repay Idahoans after abuses

Idahoans who were targeted in misleading and deceptive debt-collection practices by a national debt collection firm, NCO Financial Systems Inc., are eligible for a share in a $50,000 restitution pool, under a multistate settlement announced today by Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. The firm also agreed to change its collection practices. “This settlement is important because it benefits prior, present and future consumers,” Wasden said. “It provides for a restitution fund to assist damaged consumers, while also protecting current and future consumers from potential debt collection abuses.” Click below for his full announcement; Idahoans affected have three years to apply for the funds.

STATE OF IDAHO

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

LAWRENCE WASDEN


For Immediate Release

February 6, 2012



Attorney General Wasden joins multistate

settlement with debt collector

 

(Boise) - Debt collector NCO Financial Systems, Inc. (NCOF) has agreed to pay $50,000 in restitution for Idaho consumers and to change certain collections practices, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.  Wasden’s office and 18 other states participated in a three-year multistate investigation of allegations of misleading and deceptive debt collection practices by NCOF.

 

“This settlement is important because it benefits prior, present and future consumers,” Wasden said.  “It provides for a restitution fund to assist damaged consumers, while also protecting current and future consumers from potential debt collection abuses.”

 

The settlement agreement requires NCOF to set aside $50,000 in restitution for Idaho consumers.  Restitution will be available for three years after the settlement’s effective date for consumers who:

 

  • paid NCOF for a debt that the consumer did not owe;
  • overpaid interest on a debt that was unsupported by the underlying agreement between the debtor and the original debt holder; or
  • paid more on a debt than the amount for which NCOF agreed to settle the account.

 

Wasden encourages Idaho consumers who believe they have a valid claim to file a complaint with his Consumer Protection Division.  Valid claims will be submitted by the Consumer Protection Division to NCOF for refunds.

 

NCOF also agreed to comply with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and all applicable Idaho laws.  For example, NCOF may not:

 

  • collect on settled or discharged debts;
  • place multiple calls to consumers over a short period of time;
  • threaten legal action without authority; or
  • use false or misleading representations to collect debts.

 

In addition, the settlement requires NCOF to monitor compliance of its representatives and independent contractors, create written policies and procedures for handling consumer complaints and submit compliance reports to the Attorney General.

 

NCOF paid $26,562.50 to the Attorney General’s Office to reimburse the state of Idaho for its expenses incurred during the investigation.

 

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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