Monday, July 9th, 2012 at
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation recently announced that the Maryland State Collection Agency Licensing Board had reached an agreement with two debt collection agencies. LVNV Funding and Resurgent Capital Services have agreed to pay a $1 million penalty, dismiss 3,500 lawsuits against consumers in the state, and credit 6,200 consumer accounts that have gone through the legal process or have been settled.
According to the Department’s press release, LVNV Funding and Resurgent Capital Services had their licenses to collect in Maryland suspended in October 2011 “after the Agency determined that it had reasonable grounds to believe that LVNV and Resurgent had engaged in violations of various Maryland state and federal debt collection laws, including the Maryland Collection Agency Licensing Act, the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act, and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Conduct at issue included allegedly engaging in collections activities in Maryland without being properly licensed, employing attorneys that filed false or misleading complaints and supporting affidavits in state courts on their behalf, and misrepresenting the amounts of the claims.”
As part of the settlement agreement, both debt collectors will have their licenses reinstated.
Monday, September 12th, 2011 at
The Baltimore Sun reports that LVNV Funding has reached a settlement in a class action suit alleging that the debt buyer didn’t have the right to sue Maryland consumers because it wasn’t licensed as a debt collector in the state. While LVNV did not admit to any wrongdoing, the company did agree to wipe out the $9.8 million debt of the 3,500 plaintiffs in the class action suit, as well as pay the two lead plaintiffs $2,000 each. Further, the debt collection agency can’t sell the plaintiff’s debts to another debt collector, and must remove negative information reported to Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Friday, August 6th, 2010 at
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently compiled a list of the most litigious debt buyers, who raked in over $223 million in court judgments against Minnesotans from 2005 to 2009. The top ten were: Midland Funding, Dakota Bluff Financial, LVNV Funding, Asset Acceptance, Arrow Financial Services, North Star Capital, Unifund CCR, Palisades Collections, Portfolio Recovery Associates, and Credit Acceptance Corp.
We’ve often noted that taking consumers to court is a favorite tactic of debt buyers. They purchase debt for pennies on the dollar, file lawsuits against unwitting consumers, and then obtain judgments. Consumers often don’t know that they’re being sued, don’t know how to properly defend themselves, or don’t think that it matters since they don’t have any assets. The thing is, once you have a judgment against you, a debt collection agency can pop up at some point in the future and garnish your wages. It’s important to stay alert and to defend yourself if you’re sued by a debt collection agency.
Saturday, April 24th, 2010 at
A recent article in the New York Times highlights the lengths to which debt collectors will go to put the squeeze on consumers. All too often, debt collectors will sue consumers for questionable debts, causing court calendars to clog and making people spend time, effort, and money defending themselves.
The article highlights a San Jose, California, woman who was sued for a debt she didn’t owe. Not only did the judge dismiss the case, but when the woman countersued LVNV Funding for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, she won the case.
All too often, though, consumers don’t know how to fight back, and so don’t respond when a debt collection agency takes legal action. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, close to 95% of consumers don’t respond to a debt collector’s lawsuit. If that happens, a judge will typically rule in the debt collector’s favor, leaving consumers in a situation where their wages are garnished or money is taken out of their bank accounts.
The New York Times story points out that, in California alone, lawsuits filed by debt collection agencies have risen 20% over the past five years, and 96,000 were filed in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2009. The bottom line? If a debt collection agency files a lawsuit against you, you need to respond. Quite often, you may not be obligated to pay the debt, but if you don’t show up to defend yourself (which is what the debt collector counts on), you’ll wind up with a judgment against you. That’s why it’s important to engage the services of a fair debt attorney. It shouldn’t cost you a dime, and you may be in a favorable position to countersue under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and get a bundle from the unscrupulous debt collector.