News & Resources

Oregon cracks down on unscrupulous debt collection tactics

Apr 19, 2011 Kyle Duncan

According to the Portland Business Journal, Minnesota debt collector Allied Interstate, Incorporated has agreed to pay a $90,000 fine and put a stop to its abusive collection practices in Oregon - a powerful reminder of the importance of adhering to industry standards. Consumers have filed more than 200 complaints against the company in the past five years, alleging that it violated a multitude of prohibitions under the state and federal Debt Collection Practices Acts by threatening legal action without authorization, repeatedly calling debtors and then hanging up, using profanity during phone calls and revealing details of debts to third parties without permission to do so. "The Department of Justice will not tolerate any attempt to threaten, harass or mislead Oregon consumers as a means of doing business," said Oregon Attorney General John Kroger. "When companies violate the law, we will hold them accountable." Under the agreement, the company is now permanently banned from misrepresenting itself during the process of debt collection, harassing consumers or third parties with repeated phone calls and communicating details of debt with third parties without permission, according to consumer advocacy and complaints site ConsumerAffairs.com. If it fails to abide by these terms, Allied Interstate must pay an additional $50,000 fine. Kroger also recently shut down Eugene-based law firm McGavic & Finney PC after more than 90 complaints were received about its debt collection practices, according to Willamette Week. The firm specialized in representing national debt collectors that bought defaulted consumer obligations on the secondary market. One of its partners - Derrick McGavic - was accused of misidentifying creditors in documentation in order to delay consumers' response, thereby increasing fees and interest payable to himself and his clients. He was also alleged to have falsified fee affidavits by claiming services he didn't perform, omitted information related to defaulted debt amounts when issuing notices and repeatedly called debtors who had requested in writing that they not be called. "At a time when many Oregonians are struggling to manage their debt, the Department of Justice is committed to holding unscrupulous debt collectors accountable," said Keith Dubanevich, chief of staff for the Oregon Department of Justice, according to the news source. McGavic was ordered to dissolve the law firm, resign from the Oregon State Bar and pay the state department of justice $70,000 in order to reimburse the cost of the investigation. His partner, Kristan Finney, was permitted to continue practicing subject to numerous injunctive provisions.