Unscrupulous Debt Collection Agency Pays Record Settlement, Offers Lesson in Consumer Awareness, Says Century Negotiations
Century Negotiations informs its clients about a record $2.8 million settlement a debt collection agency must pay to settle FTC charges. CNI President says consumer awareness can lead to industry-wide improvements.
North Huntingdon, PA — (SBWIRE) — 04/28/2011 — Century Negotiations, Inc. (CNI) executives are informing their clients about a record settlement a debt collection agency agreed to pay to settle charges they violated fair debt collection laws.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleges that debt collection agency, West Asset Management, violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) on multiple occasions, leading to thousands of consumer complaints.
Century Negotiations President Amy Michalo-Rojas urged clients, and the general public, to stay informed about these types of cases so they can recognize when a debt collector violates their legal rights.
West Asset Management allegedly violated the FDCPA—the law designed to protect consumers against deceptive and harassing debt collection tactics—by calling consumers multiple times a day, using rude and abusive language, taking funds without consumer permission, falsely claiming consumers would be jailed or sued, and even contacting consumers regarding debts that did not belong to them.
“Many factors can inspire a debt collector to break the law, from an unethical work environment to the challenge of collecting in a recessed economy,” explained Michalo-Rojas. “But individual consumer awareness and reported complaints can stop these violators and warn potential lawbreakers against similar behavior.”
She pointed to the FTC’s annual FDCPA report which tracks consumer complaints against debt collectors and helps the FTC make recommendations. According to the report, the “FTC believes that consumer complaint data provide useful insight into the acts and practices of debt collectors.” In addition to specific cases such as the West Asset Management settlement, the FTC can use complaints to observe overall trends and determine how best to deter future violators.
“Century Negotiations has understood for years that being proactive with debt collector violations is essential to the well-being of our clients,” said Michalo-Rojas. “That is why we work with UCAN to directly help clients who believe their rights have been violated.”
UCAN, or the United Consumer Advocacy Network, is a consumer group that assists debt settlement clients in stopping harassing debt collection practices through both consumer education and free FDCPA attorney referrals.
“Consumer awareness not only helps the FTC prosecute violators and deter future violators, but can also provide consumers with peace of mind,” said Michalo-Rojas. “Consumers have rights even when they owe a debt, and it’s important to ensure those rights are protected”
To learn more about consumers’ rights, visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm. To read the FTC’s 2011 Annual FDCPA Report, visit http://ftc.gov/os/2011/03/110321fairdebtcollectreport.pdf.
About Century Negotiations, Inc.
Century Negotiations, Inc. (CNI) is a company dedicated to helping individuals and families rid their lives of unsecured debt. CNI specializes in negotiation, and has negotiated settlements on thousands of accounts. Last year we settled over $100 million not only for our own clients, but also for clients of other debt settlement companies. For more information call 1-888-913-8784 or visit http://www.CenturyNI.com.