CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw is suing an Ohio collection agency that allegedly has been making unlawful threats to several people in the state.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, targets National Enterprise Systems, Inc., of Solon, Ohio, and alleges that the company's unscrupulous conduct includes strong-arming people into charging money on their credit cards with threats that they will have people arrested if their bills remained unpaid. Also, the company added unlawful collection fees to tuition owed by students to West Virginia colleges and universities, McGraw said.
"Failure to pay a debt is not a crime and companies that make such false threats have violated both state and federal debt collection law," the Democratic attorney general said.
"My office will not tolerate abuse and harassment of consumers who may be in debt through no fault of their own. The Legislature has authorized my office to enforce the laws that prohibit such conduct, and we intend to do so, particularly when the unlawful conduct is as extreme as has been alleged against National Enterprise Systems."
McGraw's office said one example of the illegal practice concerns a Braxton County woman who authorized a $5,000 charge to her credit card because the company was threatening to have her daughter arrested at work.
The suit asks the court to order NES to cease its abusive practices, to pay civil penalties to the state and to award restitution to consumers who were victimized.