A Georgia-based debt collection company has entered into a $15.5 million settlement agreement with the stateâs Governorâs Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) to resolve allegations that the firm deceived and harassed thousands of consumers.
The OCP charged Dorsey Thornton & Associates LLC and its principal owners Wyteria Dorsey and Michael Thornton with multiple violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act after the agency received a series of complaints from consumers that described the firm allegedly engaging in deceptive, harassing, and unlawful business practices.
According to the OCP, Dorsey Thornton & Associates threatened consumers with arrest or imprisonment if they didnât pay their supposed debts, refused to provide consumers with written proof of supposed debts, identified themselves as âinvestigatorsâ rather than debt collectors, pressured debtors by contacting third parties and divulging information about debtorsâ accounts, unlawfully called consumers before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m., and continued to contact consumers after consumers told the firm to stop calling them (âDebt Collector Dorsey Thornton & Associates Enters into $15.5 Million Settlement,â OCP press release, Feb. 29, 2012).
âDebt collectors who engage in this kind of harassment, deception and other illegal behavior in the state of Georgia must and will pay a steep price,â John Sours, Administrator of the Governorâs Office of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
Under the terms of the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Dorsey Thornton & Associates agreed to forego the collection of 31,433 consumer accounts, totaling $15.5 million in debt. The company will also pay an undisclosed civil penalty and undisclosed reimbursement for investigative and legal expenses incurred by the OCP.
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