Harassment by debt collectors is real. People hassled by their constant calls know how maddening, embarrassing and nerve wracking those calls can be.
So it’s a relief for many that Expert Global Solutions, the world’s largest debt collector, agreed to stop harassing consumers with allegedly illegal debt collection calls and to pay a $3.2 million civil penalty.
This is the biggest penalty ever obtained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against a third-party debt collector.
The FTC charged that Expert Global Solutions and its subsidiaries called consumers many times a day even after consumers asked them to stop.
They allegedly called early in the morning, late at night and at consumers’ workplaces. The FTC complaint charges that the companies tried to collect money without verifying debt and continued to call consumers who said they didn’t owe anything.
This action doesn’t put the company out of business, but the FTC asked the court to order Expert Global Solutions to investigate whether consumers actually owe money before the company tries to collect.
The FTC says that under the proposed order, the company must “… stop falsely representing that they will not call a number to collect a debt; not harass, oppress, or abuse a consumer while attempting to collect a debt; not communicate with third parties about a consumer’s debt; not communicate with a consumer at his or her workplace if it is clearly inconvenient or prohibited by the consumer’s employer; except in limited circumstances, cease communications if a consumer has requested no further contact or if a consumer refuses to pay a debt…”
In other words, they must stop all the bad practices that add up to harassment.