Collection company settles harassment allegations

By Keith Loria | Jul 27, 2010


BUFFALO, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he has reached a settlement with a debt collection company accused of violating federal and state debt collection laws.

Lewis Hastie Receivables, Inc., allegedly intimidated and harassed customers, many of whom did not even owe the supposed debt they were contacted about.

"This company's business model was to harass consumers by calling them multiple times a day, continuously calling them at work after being told not to, and repeatedly calling even after the alleged debt was disputed," Cuomo said.

"It is unacceptable for debt collection companies to use illegal tactics for their own profit and we will continue to put a stop to the practice."

Under terms of the settlement, LHR must pay $125,000 in civil penalties and court costs and is required to reform its business practices regarding the way it conducts calls.

Under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the New York State debt collection and consumer protection laws, companies are not allowed to pose as attorneys, threaten lawsuits that cannot be filed, tell a consumer they will be arrested or talk to third parties for any reason other than to get location information.

Collection agencies are also required under law to send a written notice within five days of initial communication with details on how he or she can dispute the debt.

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