The Federal Trade Commission brought its first case against a California debt collector that allegedly sent text messages to consumers.
Nothing wrong with that, but the debt collector didn’t let on that it was debt collector, the agency said. Additionally, the debt collector pretended it was a law firm, and threatened to sue consumers for unpaid debts or to garnish their wages, the FTC said.
The agency charged that Archie Donovan and his two companies, National Attorney Collection Services and National Attorney Services violated the Fair Debt Collection Protection Act, illegally revealing debts to the consumers’ relatives and co-workers. Debt collectors aren’t allowed to reveal this information to others.
These defendants will pay $1 million to settle the FTC case, the agency said.
Donovan's office said he's not commenting now, but referred calls to his lawyer. Will post his lawyer's comment when it comes in.
Update: Lawyer Barry J. Cutler said the FTC contacted his client about 6 months ago. "There were no intentional violations here. They heard from the FTC and got into compliance very quickly," he said. "This is a pretty routine settlement and we were glad it was able to be worked out without a trial."