The Minnesota Department of Commerce brought down the hammer on a local debt collector recently, stripping First Financial Services and its owner of their collection licenses and levying $100,000 in fines for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
It is not known if the company and owner can borrow the money from a family member, put the fines on a credit card, or make monthly payments to cover the hefty fines.
Violated consumer rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
According to an order issued by an Administrative Law Judge, First Financial violated the FDCPA by threatening to have consumers arrested, making false statements, and engaging in harassing, abuse, and oppressive conduct. According to Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, their practices were ” . . . reprehensible . . .”
The owner of First Financial and the company itself were both ordered to pay fines of $50,000 to the state of Minnesota. In addition, both parties lost their debt collection licenses. Commissioner Rothman said the revocation of licenses and fines is intended to send a message to that ” . . . these practices are not tolerate . . . ”
You have the right to sue abusive debt collectors
Debt collector conduct is regulated by federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA was enacted by Congress to protect consumers from abusive debt collection.
Under the FDCPA, you are entitled to reasonable attorney fees and costs, up to $1,000 in statutory damages, and actual damages. That means you pay nothing unless I recover for you. If you have been contacted by a debt collector, contact me for a free case evaluation.