Debt collections agency Outsource Group was recently ordered by a federal judge to repay the plaintiffs it sued on behalf of St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. The healthcare facility used the St. Louis-based debt collections agency to collect overdue hospital bills. However, since Outsource Group was not licensed as a collection agency in Indiana, all of the firm's attempts to solicit money were rendered null and void, the news source notes. The class consisted of 21 total parties that had been contacted by Outsource between October 2008 and May 2011. The recipients collected a total of $31,500 - $25,000 of which paid for attorney's fees. It's important for the general public to stay informed about their rights regarding debt collection practices. Amy Michalo-Rojas, president of debt negotiation specialists Century Negotiations, believes people should educate themselves on the Federal Debt Collections Practices Act - a law designed to protect consumers against deceptive collections tactics. "Many factors can inspire a debt collector to break the law, from an unethical work environment to the challenge of collecting in a recessed economy," explains Michalo-Rojas. "But individual consumer awareness and reported complaints can stop these violators and warn potential lawbreakers against similar behavior."