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Oregon AG reaches settlement with debt collection firm

Apr 23, 2011 Kyle Duncan

While most in the debt collection field work within the law, there are a handful who don't play by the rules, using illegal tactics to get money from victims. Public officials have been working hard to bring these criminals to justice, recouping some of the ill-gotten funds and helping people rebuild their shattered financial lives. In one of the most recent cases, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger came to an agreement with a debt collector from Minnesota, which will force a payment of $90,000. Kroger's office received approximately 200 complaints regarding the firm, Allied Interstate, after it harassed and threatened a number of citizens while attempting to collect debt. In a statement, Krogrer said that consumers in his state had been misled and that it was vital to make sure that the company would be punished for wrongdoing. "The Department of Justice will not tolerate any attempt to threaten, harass or mislead Oregon consumers as a means of doing business," said Attorney General Kroger in a statement. "When companies violate the law, we will hold them accountable." Allied Interstate was at the center of complaints filed with the Department of Justice for violating rules of the state and federal Debt Collection Practices acts. The tactics used by the company included revealing a person's debts to a third party, repeatedly calling a debtor and hanging up when another person picked up, using profane language and failing to stop the calls after being told that they had called the wrong person. Under the agreement, filed on April 7 in Marion County Circuit Court, the company was prohibited from misrepresenting itself when collecting a debt, continuing to call Oregon residents after being told that they no longer wanted to receive calls, utilizing an automated dialing system, unless it was sure that the right people were being contacted, using profane language or harassing people. Other states' attorneys general have been holding debt collection agencies accountable for illegal practices. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson recently accused Encore Capital Group of "robo-signing" and other fraudulent tactics in Minnesota court documents to get payments from clients who had not been told of the debt. "The company put its thumb on the scale of justice to unfairly tilt the collection process in its favor," said Attorney General Swanson said in a statement.