Free registration is required to access these resources. Login or Register.

Premium compliance products are also available in the insideARM Store

A Houston debt collection agency, and its president and sole shareholder, have agreed to a federal court order in a case initiated by the FTC that will see the company pay a penalty and stop certain practices pertaining to its use of convenience fees.

According to the FTC’s complaint, RTB Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Allied Data Corporation, and its owner Raymond T. Blair, violated the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by using false and deceptive methods to collect more than $1.3 million in so-called “convenience fees” and “transaction fees” from consumers who authorized payments by telephone. The defendants allegedly trained their collectors to deceive consumers into believing that payments were not accepted by U.S. mail and that the fees were unavoidable. In some instances, the fees were added to consumers’ accounts without their knowledge or consent, the FTC charged.

The FTC also alleged that the defendants’ collectors deceived both English and Spanish- speaking consumers by falsely claiming to speak for attorneys, falsely threatening to sue consumers who did not pay, and using deceptive schemes to coerce consumers into paying or providing their personal information.

“It’s illegal for debt collectors to lie, make false threats, use a false identity, or trick people into paying a debt or an unauthorized fee,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will continue to protect consumers from deceptive or abusive debt collection practices, regardless of whether the deception or abuse occurs in English, Spanish, or any other language.”

The federal court order imposes a penalty of $4 million, which will be partially suspended based on inability to pay once Blair surrenders assets totaling $100,000. The proposed order also requires Blair to relinquish a luxury motor home. The order prohibits Blair and his company from repeating any of the unfair or deceptive practices alleged in the complaint, and it requires them to truthfully disclose information about any fees they charge, and the steps consumers can take to avoid paying.


Related Products

Telephone Communication Compliance: The CFPB's Consent Orders Thumbnail

Telephone Communication Compliance: The CFPB's Consent Orders

Our Telephone Communication Compliance: The CFPB’s Consent Orders guide is designed to help debt collectors comply with consent orders that hint at telephone communication violations. The report includes easy-to-understand explanations of each consent order and a comprehensive chart of all relevant consent orders, keeping the information you need right at your fingertips! This paper has been excerpted from insideARM's larger "The CFPB's Consent Orders Regulating the ARM Industry" report, available for sale now.

Staying Compliant – and Out of Court – with the TCPA Thumbnail

Staying Compliant – and Out of Court – with the TCPA

This reference guide distills the information presented in our webinar. It comes complete with a link to the full recording of the webinar – great for use for all-staff trainings and quarterly in-services -- as well as the slide deck and full transcript of the webinar. This guide doesn’t just walk through what agencies should and should not be doing, going forward -- it contains the full Q&A from the webinar, too. (This product is approved for DBA International Certification Credit.)

The CFPB's Consent Orders Regulating the ARM Industry Thumbnail

The CFPB's Consent Orders Regulating the ARM Industry

Our guide on The CFPB’s Consent Orders Regulating the ARM Industry is the first report of its kind designed to help debt collectors comply with consent orders. The report includes easy-to-understand explanations of each consent order and a comprehensive chart of all relevant consent orders, keeping the information you need right at your fingertips! This report will be updated quarterly.

UPDATED! CFPB’s Advice to the Consumer (through March 2016) Thumbnail

UPDATED! CFPB’s Advice to the Consumer (through March 2016)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hosts more than 80 of the most common consumer questions about debt collection on its Ask CFPB website. And since the Bureau was created for the sole purpose of representing and protecting consumers, debt collectors need to know how the CFPB communicates with them. That’s why insideARM compiled the answers to all 88 questions in one user-friendly report. Using the CFPB’s guidance as a model for your own compliance priorities, policies and procedures means your company will be able to keep up with the Bureau before it feels the need to examine your agency. ALL ANSWERS UPDATED THROUGH MARCH 2016.

Advertisement