Collection Agency Using Text Messaging to Collect Debts

National Attorney Collection Services, Inc. and National
Attorney Services, LLC, two California based collection agencies,
were ordered by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to pay $1
million in fines for violating the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”).  The FTC
took action against the two partnered agencies for using text
messaging in its attempt to unlawfully collect debts from
consumers.

In its formal complaint, the FTC alleged that the two collection
agencies sent texts using English and Spanish and placed phone
calls where the collectors failed to disclose that they were a
collection agency
calling to collect a debt
.  In the text messages, phone
calls and mailings the collectors falsely represented themselves as
attorneys and threatened to sue the consumers and garnish wages for
refusal to pay. 

The FTC further alleged that the agencies illegally disclosed
information regarding the debts to family members, friends and
co-workers, conduct which is directly in violation of the
FDCPA.  Moreover, the agencies sent collection
letters
in envelopes imprinted with a picture of an arm shaking
money from a debtor who hung upside down.  The FDCPA is clear
that collectors are forbidden from publicizing that a consumer owes
any such debt and mailing envelopes are prohibited from including
any information other than the name and address of the collection
agency. 

In addition to the $1 million fine, the agreed upon settlement
requires the agencies to cease all text messaging if it fails to
contain the necessary disclosures as required under the law and to
first receive consumers’ express consent before sending a text
message.  The collection agencies are also banned from falsely
representing to consumers that they are a law firm capable of
taking legal action in an effort to collect.   

If you are the victim of a violation of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act or need additional information regarding the FDCPA
contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free
case review
.