The Attorney General’s Office is suing an Everett-based collection agency accused of harassing, threatening and cussing at consumers. Representatives of Topco Financial Services, Inc., allegedly called debtors names such as “loser,” scum,” “plight on society,” “no good,” “lowlife,” “deadbeat,” “worthless,” or “terrible parents,” as well as profane names not suitable for print.
That kind of language isn’t just abusive – it’s illegal. It’s also the type of unfair business practice that can make it harder for legitimate collectors who play by the rules to do their job.
“Even though they provide an important service for businesses, collection agencies get a bad rap because nobody likes to be on the receiving end of the call,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said in today's news release. “Unfortunately, it only takes a few bad collectors to generate a lot of complaints.”
As a reminder, state and federal laws require that debt collectors treat you fairly, and limit when and how often they may contact you. You also have the right to write to a debt collector and tell them to stop contacting you, after which they can't contact you again except to notify you of legal action or confirm they'll stop contacting you. Additionally, a collector cannot pursue a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy or that you’ve proven is not yours.
- Laws that regulate collection agencies.
- File a complaint against a collection agency for violating the law.
- File a Vehicle Report of Sale with the Department of Licensing at the time you sell a car. The report of sale does not transfer ownership of the vehicle, but releases the previous owner from legal liability. If you do not file a report of sale, you may be held liable for parking tickets, impound fees, and other financial liabilities incurred by the new owner until they transfer the title into their name.
- The Federal Trade Commission’s publication, “Knee Deep in Debt,” contains advice for those overwhelmed by bills.
- For a referral to a local credit counselor, call 211 or visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling Web site.
- Information about time-barred debts.