May 9, 2013 |
NEW YORK -- California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has accused JPMorgan Chase & Co. of using fraudulent and unlawful debt-collection practices against some 100,000 credit card holders in the state. In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Harris' office claims the major Wall Street bank employed abusive and illegal practices over at least three years. Chase's use of illegal robo-signing was “widespread,” Harris' office alleges. The practice involved automatic signing of various documents -- some sworn -- without reviewing the paperwork or bank records.
March 5, 2013 |
If you want to dance, you've got to pay the piper. And if you want to zip along the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, you have to pay a toll of as much as $9.55 per trip. James Kritikson, 72, of La Verne never paid the toll, so he received a notice in the mail saying he had to cough up the unpaid fee, plus a penalty of $25. If he didn't come clean by March 28, the penalty would jump to $100. There was just one problem: On the date - Jan. 25 - and at the time - 10:16 p.m. - that the notice said Kritikson was sneering at the 91 Express Lanes' toll system, he was in fact home with his wife watching TV, and his car was in the garage.
January 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- A Van Nuys debt collection operation and the people who ran it agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle federal allegations they improperly bullied consumers to get them to repay overdue bills and deceived clients about fees. The settlement ends a case that began in 2011 against Forensic Case Management Services Inc. and permanently bars the owner, David M. Hynes II, and other officers in the company from the debt collection business, the Federal Trade Commission said Thursday.
October 28, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Grandparent scam -- This scheme has been highlighted before in this space, but it's so common it's worth sounding the alarm again. There have been numerous reports about bad people trying to trick older Americans into giving them money by calling and pretending to be relatives, often grandchildren, who are in desperate need of money because of a fabricated emergency. In some cases, it can be for bail or to repair a car. Consumer advocates caution that anyone who receives such a call should ask questions that an imposter would not be able to answer correctly -- the date of their mother's birthday or the city they were born in, for instance.
October 23, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The nation's largest debt-collection companies will face federal regulatory exams for the first time, starting in January, to determine if they are complying with consumer protection laws. Among the laws that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would enforce would be ones that require employees to identify themselves properly and that prohibit the use of "obscene or profane language" in collecting overdue bills. The new oversight comes as the bureau, which was created by the 2010 financial reform law, continues to expand its authority beyond banks.
August 20, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Hard economic times have helped push millions of Americans deeply into debt, plunging many into a dark world filled with relentless collection agents, aggressive lawyers and companies that profit mightily if they can get people to pay up. Aided by outdated laws and lax oversight, debt collection has become a $12-billion-a-year business as people increasingly have fallen behind on their bills for credit cards, student loans, hospital stays...
April 22, 2012 |
Debt collectors calling? You have rights. • The debt collector must tell you - within five days of initial contact - the amount you owe, the name of the creditor and how you should proceed if you think you don't owe the money. If you dispute the debt, send the collection agency a letter within 30 days saying so. Once the debt collection company receives your letter, it must stop trying to collect until it sends you written proof of the amount you owe. • Debt collectors may not call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you say it's OK. They may not call you at work if they know, or if you tell them, that your employer prohibits such calls.
February 27, 2012
Last May, after months of reports on how poor a job Los Angeles does recouping about half a billion dollars that it is owed, and after a few more months of chattering and philosophizing, the City Council voted to create a position to take charge of collections. It got the title wrong - "inspector general" utterly fails to describe the collections position - but let's not quibble over words. Let's just get back some of that $541 million. And let's now, eight months later, check back in with the inspector general to see how the job is going, how much money has actually been pulled in, how much should be written off as uncollectable and what additional tasks our debt marshal should undertake.