Federal and Ohio laws against abusive debt collection practices have been in place for long enough that you might think that anyone tempted to engage in such activity would be deterred by them, but as recent news events demonstrate such a belief would be wishful thinking. In fact, the problem remains serious enough that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has teamed up with both state and local law enforcement agencies in Ohio and elsewhere to combat it under the aegis of “Operation Collection Protection.”
The news item at hand concerns a debt collection firm based in New York that was the subject of more than 30 complaints by Ohio residents for classic abusive debt collection practices, including the use of abusive and profane language during telephone calls, threats of civil legal actions and even insinuations that the people being contacted could be sent to jail, harassment of family members, employers and co-workers, and refusal to stop telephone calls even when informed by the victims of the harassing tactics informed them that they did not owe upon the claimed debt.
In response, the Ohio Attorney General’s office has initiated a lawsuit against the debt collector based on allegations of violation of both the federal and Ohio consumer protection laws. In addition to injunctive relief on behalf of the Ohio individuals affected, the lawsuit also seeks monetary damages on their behalf as well as additional penalties.
Anyone who is being subjected to abusive debt collection activities, including but not limited to the ones mentioned above, has multiple ways to respond. In addition to complaining to appropriate Ohio and federal government agencies responsible for consumer protection, it is also possible to take action individually with the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in helping clients combat unethical and illegal debt collection methods.
Source: Norwalk Reflector, “Ohio sues NY debt collector accused of harassing and misleading Ohioans,” Nov. 8, 2015