We all know how cunning and deceiving debt collectors can be. They’ll rely on intimidation and, on occasion, outright lying in their quest to collect tardy debts.
An Atlanta collection agency engaged in the practice far too frequently for far too long. Now it must give up attempts to collect on more than 31,000 accounts it purchased for collection purposes.
Collections company Dorsey Thornton & Associates LLC and its principal officers have agreed to forgo more than $15 million in un-collected debt in exchange for settling multiple violations of federal debt collection laws. The company and principals Wyteria Dorsey and Michael Thornton have entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), resolving charges that the company committed multiple violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. OCP’s investigation stemmed from a series of reports from consumers that Dorsey Thornton & Associates harassed and deceived consumers by:
*Threatening consumers with arrest or imprisonment if they did not pay the debt;
*Refusing to send consumers written proof of the debt owed;
*Identifying themselves as “Investigators” rather than disclosing that they were debt collectors attempting to collect a debt;
*Contacting third parties and divulging information about the debtor’s account;
*Calling consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
*Continuing to contact consumers even after they told the company to stop calling them;
Under the Assurance, Dorsey Thornton & Associates has agreed to forgo collection of 31,433 accounts, representing a total of $15,491,899.36 in consumer debt. The Assurance also requires the company to pay a civil penalty and to reimburse OCP for investigative and legal expenses.
“Debt collectors who engage in this kind of harassment, deception and other illegal behavior in the state of Georgia must and will pay a steep price,” said John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection.