GC Services Limited Partnership, a large Texas-based debt collector, is paying $700,000 to settle a civil lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for illegal debt collection practices. The authorities announced the settlement on the same day that a U.S. Attorney sued GC for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
According to the U.S. Attorney, GC was accused of repeatedly calling consumers after the person answering the phone stated that they didn’t know the consumer that GC was looking for, nor did they know where the consumer might be. The U.S. Attorney also accused GC for disclosing information about a debt to unauthorized third parties, which is a violation of the FDCPA.
In the lawsuit, the FTC stated that GC collected $1.2 billion from consumers in 2014, making them a large market participant. The company has more than 7,600 employees, including more than 1,400 employees who work exclusively in debt collection.
As we’ve reported on this blog earlier, the FTC released its debt collection press release for 2016 which states that the regulatory agency settled 12 cases against 61 defendants in that year. The FTC also banned 44 companies from continuing to collect debt from consumers.
Despite this setback of having to settle such a high value suit, GC is still doing pretty well. Last December, the Department of Education announced that it selected GC as one of seven debt collectors who were authorized to collect on federally insured student loans. The other collectors selected by the DOE include Financial Management Systems Investment Corp., Premiere Credit of North America, the CBE Group, Transworld Systems, Value Recovery Holding and Windham Professionals.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from misrepresenting facts about your debt, harassing you, or using unfair practices to collect debt. A plaintiff can sue under this law and can receive upwards of $1,000 plus attorneys’ fees. As consumers continue to complain about debt collection, these lawsuits are becoming more and more common.