In the 1990s, the Buffalo Bills famously lost four Super Bowls in a row. Now the Buffalo, New York area has achieved another inglorious four-fer: Two cases announced today makes a total of four FTC suits in less than a year against Buffalo-based debt collectors accused of abusive tactics.
People poke fun at the Bills, but Marv Levy and Jim Kelly led some great teams. The debt collection cases announced today also depended on great teamwork: a partnership between the FTC and the Office of the New York Attorney General.
Last June, we told you about a joint case with the New York AG against a Buffalo debt collector who used lies and threats to pressure people across the country into making payments. That followed an announcement last March about an FTC case against another Buffalo-based debt collector who used similar abusive tactics.
Today, we announced that two debt collection enterprises centered in Buffalo were served with complaints by the FTC and New York Attorney General’s Office. According to the complaints, the enterprises illegally used abusive and deceptive tactics to pressure consumers into making payments on supposed debts. One complaint was brought against 4 Star Resolution LLC, six related companies, and three individuals. The other complaint was brought against Vantage Point Services and related corporate entities and individuals. As alleged in the complaints, the enterprises routinely made false threats to consumers, including threats of lawsuits, arrest, imprisonment, seizure of property, or garnishment of wages. The complaints say the debt collectors also claimed or implied they were acting on behalf of law enforcement or the courts, and often impersonated attorneys, investigators, or process servers. The FTC and New York AG also say the collectors used abusive language, failed to provide consumers with proof of the debt, and told third parties, including consumers’ family members, friends, and employers, about the debts. All of these actions are against the law.
Debt collectors who use abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices will end up in trouble with the FTC and its law enforcement partners. Need a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act compliance refresher? Watch this video.