FTC Takes $4 Million Action Against Deceptive Debt Collector
“Convenience fees” never seem to be all that convenient, do they?
Although convenience fees are common to countless businesses and service providers, these charges become an entirely different monster when a company illegally pushes them on its customers.
RTB Enterprises, Inc. (d/b/a Allied Data Corporation) – along with the company’s president and sole shareholder, Raymond T. Blair – have been accused of such devious actions and will now pay a $4 million penalty because of it. The agreement, reached through a federal court order, also demands that the company cease similar practices when collecting convenience fees in the future, requiring both Blair and RTB Enterprises to disclose info regarding fees charged to consumers, along with what they can do to avoid paying them.
So what did RTB Enterprises and owner Raymond T. Blair do to violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?
According to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the defendants’ collectors allegedly:
- Trained employees to intentionally deceive consumers.
- Led consumers to believe payments were not accepted by US mail.
- Created the illusion that convenience fees and transaction fees were unavoidable.
- Threatened to sue consumers who did not pay these fees.
- Claimed to speak for or represent legal attorneys.
- Charged fees to customers who did not owe them.
How does this affect consumers like you?
While this story is local to Houston, it is a federal crime and a direct violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). To quote Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, “It’s illegal for any debt collector to lie, make false threats, use a false identity, or trick people into paying a debt or unauthorized fee.”
Of course, this is only one instance of a debt collector leaning on shady tactics that violate consumer rights. Even if you don’t have debt currently in collection, it’s important to understand your rights as a consumer to protect yourself from debt collector harassment.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act works to promote fair debt collection, discouraging debt collectors from abusive business tactics. This law is in place to protect you, and if you feel as though you’re being unlawfully harassed by a debt collection agency, or if you believe a debt collector is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it’s important that you get your free case review and speak with a credit law attorney right away.