Monthly Archives: July 2014

Payday Loan Help: Collector Used An Attorney’s Name To Collect On Loans, Threaten Arrest…

How to get out of your payday loans
Payday Loan Help & Relief

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a settlement with Joseph Bella, the operator of several debt collection companies in the Buffalo area, for “illegally collecting on payday loans, violating the privacy of consumers by soliciting their personal information through employers, and sending letters that purported to be from an attorney in order to collect.” Bella will pay $165,000 in restitution and penalties and be ordered to substantially change his business practices.

According to the New York AG’s complaint, the defendants:

  • told one consumer in Washington State that they would have the “Washington County Police” issue a warrant for her arrest, and another serving in the military that they would bring an action against him under the Uniform Code of Military Justice;
  • said the only way to avoid arrest, imprisonment, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and seized assets would be to make an immediate payment over the phone;
  • continued to accuse consumers of check fraud and other crimes even after they produced evidence showing they didn’t owe the debt in question;
  • contacted friends, family members, and co-workers of consumers whom they claimed owed a debt, and in some cases, not only revealed the supposed debt but also said the consumers had committed check fraud, and would be arrested or imprisoned if the debt was not paid;
  • added an illegal $8 “processing fee” when consumers made payments on supposed debts over the phone;
  • failed to provide consumers with debt collection notices and disclosures that are required under state and federal law, making it difficult for consumers to determine whether they owed the debt, and how they could dispute its validity; and
  • continued trying to collect a debt from a consumer who had discharged the debt in bankruptcy.

Here’s a link to the New York Attorney’s General pres release: New York Payday Loan Collection Company Settles with State AG.

Vermont Payday Loan Relief

18 Ways to Kiss Your Payday Loan Lender Goodbye
18 Ways to Kiss Your Payday Loan Lender Goodbye

By: Royal Paine. Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell described the payday loan relief settlement with Cash Cal, LLC as the fourth in a recent effort to protect Vermonters from predatory lending: “On April 23, 2014, my office announced a sweeping effort to protect consumers from lenders who ignore Vermont’s laws and take advantage of Vermonters in economic distress. We will continue to vigorously pursue illegal lenders who make loans in contravention of our state laws.” Attorney General Sorrell urged consumers to review these tips before taking out a loan. More information on the Attorney General’s crackdown on illegal lending can be found here(link is external).

Here’s a link to the Press Release: Vermont Payday Loan Borrower Refunds

Payday Loan Collector Stopped by Federal Trade Commission

By: Royal Paine. At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court has halted a Georgia-based operation from using deception and threats to collect $3.5 million in phantom payday loan “debts” that consumers didn’t owe pending trial. The court had previously ordered the defendants’ assets frozen to preserve the possibility that they could be used to provide redress to consumers, and appointed a receiver.

Norcross, Georgia resident John Williams and two companies he controls used a variety of false threats to bully consumers nationwide into paying supposed payday loan debts, the FTC charged. Williams; Williams, Scott & Associates, LLC; and WSA, LLC falsely claimed to be affiliated with federal and state agents, investigators, members of a government fraud task force, and other law enforcement agencies, and pretended to be a law firm, according to the FTC complaint. The defendants also allegedly told consumers their drivers’ licenses were going to be revoked, and that they were criminals facing imminent arrest and imprisonment.

The FTC alleges that many consumers the defendants contacted had inquired about a payday loan online at one time, and submitted contact information, which later found its way into the defendants’ hands.

“Many consumers in this case were victimized twice,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “First when they inquired about payday loans online and their personal information was not properly safeguarded, and later, when they were harassed and intimidated by these defendants, to whom they didn’t owe any money.”

The FTC alleged that the defendants’ tactics violated the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In addition to the deception and false threats,  the defendants violated federal law by telling consumers’ family members, employers, and co-workers about the debt; failing to identify themselves as debt collectors; using profanity; making repeated inconvenient or prohibited calls; failing to provide information in writing about the debt; and making unauthorized withdrawals from consumers’ bank accounts.

This is the FTC’s sixth recent case charging “phantom debt” scams with law violations.  Other cases include American Credit Crunchers, LLC, Broadway Global Master Inc., Pro Credit Group, Vantage Funding, also known as Caprice Marketing, and Pinnacle Payment Services, LLC.

How to Get Rid of Payday Loans: Illegal Payday Loans

By: Royal Paine. Does your payday loan include interest & fees that exceed your state’s legal limits?
Your loan is illegal.

Is your payday loan lender violating your state’s licensing laws?
Your loan is illegal.

Does your loan automatically rollover if you don’t notify your payday loan lender in advance?
Your loan is illegal.

Did your payday loan lender force you to accept ACH payments to qualify?
Your loan is illegal.

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