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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 08, 2010
Everett collection agency promises not to harass or threaten consumers

Topco Financial reaches settlement with Attorney General’s Office

SEATTLE – An Everett-based collection agency agreed not to harass, threaten or cuss at consumers as part of a settlement with the Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General’s Office sued Topco Financial Services, Inc., and company officials in February 2009, accusing them of violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act. Topco’s clients include towing companies.

The state’s complaint alleged that Topco representatives used profanity, called debtors names and threatened to take further action beyond the company’s legal authority.

As part of a settlement filed Dec. 22, 2009, in Snohomish County Superior Court, the state agreed to dismiss civil charges against individuals provided the company complies with certain restrictions on how its employees communicate with consumers. The agreement does not include a finding or admission of wrongdoing.

Under the agreement, Topco is prohibited from:

  • Communicating with a debtor or anyone else in such a manner as to harass, intimidate, threaten or embarrass, including using profanity.
  • Implying that failure to pay a debt will result in a revocation, suspension or impairment of the debtor’s driver’s license.
  • Threaten debtors with impairment of their credit rating. However, the company may lawfully report debts to credit-reporting agencies.

Topco will pay $5,000 in civil penalties and $33,000 in state attorneys’ fees and legal costs. An additional $70,000 in civil penalties and $12,000 in fees and costs is suspended provided the company complies with the settlement terms.


DOCUMENTS:
Topco Complaint
Topco Consent Decree



Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432

 

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