If you were to get a call, letter or text from a something called National Attorney Service, would you think that party has a legitimate legal affiliation? If you are like many other consumers who have been contacted by that group, you might be intimidated and likely to take the correspondence seriously.
In truth, that entity is not a group of lawyers. It isn't the government. It is a collections agency that the Justice Department's consumer protection division has identified as a nuisance. Various complaints from consumers indicate that the business used not just rude but illegal tactics to try to get people to pay off their debts.
The following are examples of creditor harassment strategies of which the group was accused:
- Sending text messages to debtors
- Lying to debtors about how law enforcement would come after them if they didn't make payments
- Lying to debtors about how they would be put in jail if they didn't make payments
- Sending mail with images on the outside that indicate the recipient owes debts
These are just some of the prohibited strategies that have gotten the National Attorney Service in trouble. The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department went after the organization. All of the parties came to a settlement recently, and the collections company agreed to pay a $1 million fine. Along with that punishment, the company can no longer use a name that implies it is a legal or government entity.
Just because debtors owe money does not mean that they don't have rights and protections against creditor harassment. A bankruptcy attorney can work with those who believe that they are being harassed or who simply want to evaluate their debt relief options.
The Huffington Post, "Debt Collectors Using Terrible New Tactic Get Fined $1 Million," Chris Kirkham, Sep. 26, 2013