The collection agency West Asset Management has agreed to pay a civil penalty to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint against it for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. West Asset Management was accused of the following illegal behavior:
• Misrepresenting itself as a law firm or that its collectors are attorneys;
• Misrepresenting that debtors will be arrested or have their property seized if they don’t pay;
• Threatening actions that would be illegal, or actions that the company has no intention of taking;
• Making false statements to collect a debt or obtain information about a consumer;
• Withdrawing funds from consumers’ bank accounts or charging their credit cards without their consent;
• Depositing postdated checks before the date on the check, or threatening to do so;
• Revealing to third parties that a consumer owes a debt;
• Asking a third party for a consumer’s location information more than once without the third party’s consent or a reasonable belief that the person’s earlier response was wrong or incomplete and that the person now has correct location information;
• Calling consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., or at their workplace;
• Communicating with a consumer after receiving written notice that the consumer refuses to pay or wants the collector to stop calling; and
• Using obscene or profane language, or harassing consumers with repeated phone calls.
West Asset is not the only agency that uses all or some of these illegal collection tactics against Arizona debtors.
If you are an Arizona consumer who has been contacted by a third-party debt collector or debt buyer and feel that their collection actions were deceptive, unfair, harassing, or abusive, please call attorney Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822.