Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that his office lead a settlement between NCO Financial Systems and 19 states which will see NCO pay up to $1.5 million in restitution to the AG offices and consumers in the states.
DeWine said that since 2008 his office had been working with the AGs of 18 other states on the investigation into NCO’s debt collection practices. The announcement did not carry specific allegations of wrongdoing, but laid out criteria for consumers to receive compensation.
“We believe this is a fair settlement that will help uphold consumers’ rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,” DeWine said. “NCO is agreeing to provide restitution for eligible consumers, to provide stronger notifications to credit reporting agencies and consumers, and to implement policies to ensure compliance with federal and state law.”
In signing the settlement, NCO agreed to take certain steps to comply with existing laws, including additional training and the continued monitoring of its agents. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement.
“NCO is proud of its record on consumer compliance,” said Ronald Rittenmeyer, NCO’s CEO. “We are pleased to resolve the Multi-State Group’s concerns, as well as upgrade our compliance processes, all which will permit us to improve our consumer interaction. As the largest provider of accounts receivable collection services in the world, we will continue to set the highest standards of compliance for the industry.”
The agreement calls for NCO to pay $575,000 to the states to reimburse for the cost of the investigation. In addition, the company will set aside $50,000 per state – a total of $950,000 – to compensate consumers that can show they wrongly paid NCO.
Consumer restitution will be available for three years following the effective date of the agreements for consumers who have valid claims that meet one of the following criteria:
- Consumer paid NCO a third party debt that the consumer did not owe;
- Consumer overpaid interest on a third party debt that was not supported by the underlying agreement between the debtor and the original holder of the debt or as otherwise permitted by law; or
- Consumer paid more on a third party debt than the amount NCO agreed to settle the account.
Joining Ohio in the multi-state working group were the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin.