GC Services, a national debt collector, has agreed to pay $700,000 to the federal government as a civil penalty for its debt collection harassment practices and other illegal tactics to collect debts. GC Services is a large debt collection agency with a dedicated student loan division. The lawsuit against GC Services alleges that it left telephone messages that illegally disclosed a consumer’s debts to others without the consumer’s consent and that GC Services repeatedly contacted individuals for the purpose of acquiring location information for the consumer, among other illegal conduct.
This conduct is illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). This pro consumer statute prohibits a debt collector from contacting third parties in connection with the collection of a debt. While there are exceptions to this rule, it appears that GC Services was not interested in complying with the statute.
In addition to the $700,000 fine, GC Services is prohibited from engaging in certain types of collection activity. For example, GC Services is prohibited from leaving recorded telephone messages in which GC Services states the first or last name of the consumer and discloses that it is a debt collector, is attempting to collect a debt, or that the consumer owes a debt (although GC Services is permitted to leave such messages under some exceptions). GC Services is also prohibited from calling any person at a telephone number about a particular account after that person has already informed GC Services that the consumer cannot be reached at that telephone number or the person does not have location information about the consumer.
The lawsuit also alleges that in 2014 alone GC Services collected approximately $1.2 billion in gross collections from consumers and had gross revenues of $133 million. According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 40 million consumers have outstanding loan debt, at an average of $29,000 per consumer. The Federal Trade Commission also reports that student loan debt is second only to mortgage debt and surpasses home equity loans, lines of credit, credit cards and automotive debt. GC Services is one of numerous debt collection agencies that actively contact consumers to collect their outstanding debts, sometimes in illegal, abusive and harassing ways.
If you have been a victim of debt collector harassment and abuse or receive threatening and harassing phone calls from debt collectors, including collections of student loan debts, and want to speak to a lawyer, contact Attorney Gary at www.creditrepairlawyersam.com or call us, toll free at (855) 956-2089. You can also email him at [email protected].