SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline) - Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a court order on Wednesday against a Texas-based debt settlement company that allegedly charged excessive fees and lied about using Oregon attorneys to handle client cases.
Rosenblum's office and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services sued World Law Debt last week for alleged violations of the state's Unlawful Trade Practices Act. Also named as defendants in the lawsuit were World Law Debt Assistance, World Law Processing, Swift Rock Financial, Orion Processing, World Law Group, World Law Plan, World Law Direct and several additional similarly named companies.
World Law Debt collected $1.5 million from Oregon clients, but the company allegedly paid just $275,211 to its clients' creditors and kept more than $960,000 in fees. World Law Debt also allegedly financially abused customers that were 65 years of age and older.
"The DOJ strives to protect all Oregonians, particularly the elderly and other vulnerable segments of the community," Rosenblum said. "Teaming with the Department of Consumer and Business Services is an effective way to offer Oregonians the tough consumer protection they deserve."
World Law Debt offered to help debt-burdened Oregonians negotiate with creditors to create a payment plan and lower the total amount owed. Oregon customers authorized World Law Debt to take monthly withdrawals from their bank accounts to establish savings accounts. The company allegedly claimed it would contact the creditors to negotiate a lump-sum payment or payment plan when the consumers saved up enough.
In September, the Department of Consumer and Business Services fined World Law Debt $70,000 for failing to register prior to doing business in the state and engaging in other violations. World Law Debt remains unregistered and has not paid the fine.
Rosenblum's lawsuit seeks more than $10 million in civil penalties and consumer refunds.