If a debt collector runs a scam or violates the law, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they can be fined and held accountable.
Consider the case of Arrow Financial Services. The fine was the largest civil penalty ever imposed against a collection agency licensed in Minnesota.
An investigation by the Department of Commerce alleged that Niles, Ill.-based Arrow Financial Services did the following:
• Withdrew money electronically from a debtors checking account without authorization and after two separate requests to stop.
• Contacted debtors at work after requests to stop.
• Disclosed debt information to a debtors co-worker.
• Allowed a collector to contact a debtor prior to receiving a debt collector license, and submitted an application for a debt collectors license despite a recent felony conviction.
• Failed to respond to the Department of Commerces request for information, failed to provide responses from individual debt collectors and failed to provide copies of debtor work logs.
“This company says it provides courteous and professional service, but they missed the mark,” Commerce Commissioner Glenn Wilson said. “The violations are serious and we cannot and will not tolerate this type of activity in Minnesota.”
Also as part of the penalty, Arrow Financial Services must design and implement a compliance program within 60 days to address the areas where violations occurred.
The company is part of Sallie Mae
As the customer you can protect yourself by keeping good records including phone logs and mail logs. Document everything that was said, follow up, and keep a good diary.