• 18
  • March

A debt collection agency has been fined a record amount by the Federal Trade Commission for breaking federal debt collection laws. The company, West Asset Management Inc., agreed to pay a record $2.8 million civil penalty to settle the case. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the company has operations in 13 states and one offshore location. The FTC received thousands of complaints from around the country that the company was engaged in illegal tactics to collect debts.

Consumers said that the company would call them several times a day and during the night. Employees of the debt collection agency also used rude and abusive language when they called. They called people at work and took money out of people's bank accounts or charged their credit cards without consent.

In the settlement, the debt collection company is barred from using the illegal abusive and aggressive tactics it had been using. The company is not allowed to call during late night or early morning hours or to call people at work. If a consumer completes a written notice that says they will not pay or asking the collector to stop calling, the debt collector must honor the written request.

The company's debt collectors also must stop posing as lawyers and threatening to seize property or take legal action. They also cannot share debt and account information of consumers to third parties. In general, the debt collector has been ordered to stop harassing consumers because it is against the law.


West unit to pay $2.8 million fee (Omaha World-Herald)