Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 at
The Houston Chronicle reports that Whataburger is suing NCO Financial Systems after NCO debt collectors repeatedly called company headquarters in an attempt to collect an alleged debt from an employee. According to the lawsuit, NCO Financial Systems has placed more than 50 calls to Whataburger’s toll-free line, and kept calling even after the company sent a cease-and-desist letter to the debt collection agency. Whataburger is alleging that NCO Financial violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and is suing to recover actual damages (the cost to the company of the toll-free phone calls), plus $1,000 for each violation of the FDCPA. Because the FDCPA protects consumers, it’s unclear whether Whataburger will prevail. However, it’s a nice change of pace for an employer to stand up for its employee. Often, the purpose of debt collection calls to the workplace is to instill fear into consumers in order to get them to pay so that the calls stop.
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at
In a press release issued yesterday, NCO Group announced that it had completed its merger with APAC Customer Services, Inc., and that Expert Global Solutions will act as the holding company for both NCO and APAC. NCO’s press release noted that, when combined, the companies have $2 billion in annual revenues, more than 40,000 employees, and more than 120 call centers, and that they operate in 14 countries.
In an interview with InsideARM, a debt collection industry publication, Expert Global Solutions CEO Ron Rittenmeyer says that he and his leadership team are pushing for “zero tolerance about compliance,” from which one can infer that they will insist upon debt collector compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. He outlines the procedures in place to monitor and re-train collectors that cross the line, and says, “And when word spreads that we will not tolerate that kind of behavior, it immediately begins to change how people across the organization do their jobs.”
Rittenmeyer has been President and CEO of NCO Group since March 2011. Prior to that, he was President and CEO of Safety-Kleen Corporation, RailTex, and Ameriserve Food Services. In striving for compliance, it appears as though Rittenmeyer will have to pivot away from the company’s less than stellar history. According to a 2004 Federal Trade Commission press release, NCO Group paid a $1.5 million settlement in a case alleging that it had reported inaccurate information about consumer accounts to credit bureaus. The FTC touted that this was the largest Fair Credit Reporting Act penalty to date. More recently, the Minnesota Department of Commerce ordered NCO Financial Systems to change its employee screening procedures after alleging that the company hired convicted felons. In February, NCO Financial Systems settled with 19 state Attorneys General, agreeing to pay a total of $575,000 and set up a $50,000 consumer restitution fund in each state.
Monday, July 12th, 2010 at
Over the past few days, we’ve discussed a class action lawsuit being brought by Lemberg & Associates against Capital One Services, NCO Financial Systems, and Capital One Bank. The law firm is also bringing a class action lawsuit against Capital One Services, United Recovery Systems, and Capital One Bank for sending similar letters that are in violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Like Mr. Wood, Henry Rogers received a letter that he thought was from his creditor, Capital One Bank. Yet calls to the toll-free number were redirected to United Recovery Systems, which is a misleading debt collection practice. In addition, the letter fails to mention that Mr. Rogers has the right to dispute or obtain verification of the debt, which is also a violation of the FDCPA. Similarly, the letter doesn’t clearly state that it’s from a debt collector. Instead, that information is buried on the back of the letter.
The letter was a mass-mailed form letter that offered an annual percentage rate (APR) of 0% if Mr. Rogers agreed to a payment plan, but threatened that his APR would “return to 19.90%” on the entire debt if that agreement was not honored.
If you live in Connecticut and received a letter similar to the one Mr. Rogers received, and would like to join the group of consumers intent on holding Capital One Services, United Recovery Systems, and Capital One Bank accountable for their actions, complete the form here or call .
Sunday, July 11th, 2010 at
Yesterday we gave you an overview of the ways in which Gareth Wood was victimized by Capital One Services and NCO Financial Systems on behalf of Capital One Bank. Essentially, when they sent Mr. Wood a “Pre-Legal Notice,” these debt collectors violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in a number of ways.
Lemberg & Associates is in the process putting together a class action lawsuit for these violations. Why a class action suit? Because it appears as though the letter Mr. Wood received was a form letter. This form letter is likely to have been mass-mailed to thousands of consumers whose accounts are past due. When a situation like this arises, it’s impractical to expect every single consumer to hire a fair debt attorney and individually obtain justice. Class actions are made available to help consumers get relief when a company injures many people in the same manner.
If you live in New York and received a letter similar to the one Mr. Wood received, and would like to join the group of consumers intent on holding Capital One Services, NCO Financial Systems, and Capital One Bank accountable for their actions, complete the form here or call .
Friday, July 9th, 2010 at
Lemberg & Associates, which maintains the StopCollector website, works tirelessly to help consumers stand up to rogue debt collection agencies. From time to time, we’ll bring you news about some of the firm’s most prominent cases. Today, we’ll take a look at how Gareth Wood was victimized by Capital One Services and NCO Financial Systems on behalf of Capital One Bank.
Mr. Wood received a “Pre-Legal Notice” letter on Capital One letterhead saying that his account with the creditor Capital One Bank was “seriously delinquent and meets the guidelines for legal action if payment is not made….” The front of the letter also told him he could call a toll free number or visit a website “to see what your options are or to make a payment.” It was signed, “Capital One Services, LLC.”
Mr. Wood understandably thought that the notice was from his creditor, Capital One Bank. In fact, the letter was sent by Capital One Collections and NCO Collections. NCO Collections comes into play because the toll-free number was automatically redirected to NCO Collections.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss why these debt collectors violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 at
Collections and Credit Risk recently ran an article written by Experian Vice President Dan Buell that offers an interesting insight into collection agency trends. In the article, the credit bureau executive discusses whether or debt collection agency mergers and acquisitions will see an uptick against the current economic backdrop.
Buell makes a strong case that smaller and mid-size debt collection agencies are feeling the squeeze, and may be gobbled up by larger debt collectors, such as NCO Financial Systems and Alliance One. He discusses a number of other factors affecting mergers and acquisitions, including the potential for increased federal and state regulation, security and compliance issues, and the scarcity of available capital. He anticipates that collection agencies with a strong offshore presence – and therefore lower operating costs – will be well-positioned to buy other debt collection agencies, and notes that companies that buy debt are less attractive takeover targets than agencies that don’t buy debt.