The Ohio Attorney General's office recently settled a lawsuit filed against Allied Interstate, one of the country's largest debt collectors. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Allied Interstate agreed to pay $150,000 and make changes in its practices. Allied faced two dozen allegations of misconduct after a state investigation -- for instance, calling before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m., and even making unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts. It was also accused of calling people's employers, despite being asked to stop; making idle threats; and repeatedly calling the wrong people.
This settlement came shortly after a $350,000 agreement reached in August between the State of Ohio and Credit Bureau Collection Services, which has its headquarters in Columbus. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Allied agreed last year to pay $1.75 million to settle a similar federal probe; and Credit Bureau Collection Services agreed to pay $1.1 million. The Ohio Attorney General has reached settlements with other collection firms as well.
If you feel you have been the victim of an unlawful debt collection practice, you should contact your state attorney general or other state consumer protection agency. Debt collection is of course perfectly valid -- as long as it is conducted in accordance with applicable law.