Slap on the Hand to Biggest Debt Collector

DALLAS (CN) - The world's largest debt collector, Expert Global Solutions, will pay the FTC's biggest fine ever for illegal debt collections - $3.2 million - and must stop harassing people, the FTC said.
     Texas-based Expert and its subsidiaries have more than 32,000 employees and revenue of more than $1.2 billion in 2001, the FTC said.
     That would make the $3.2 million fine less than one day's income for the defendants.
     Expert agreed to stop lying about not calling a number to collect a debt; to stop harassing, oppressing and abusing consumers; to stop communicating with third parties about a debt; to stop calling a consumer's workplace if it is clearly inconvenient or prohibited by the employer; except in limited circumstances, to stop communications if a consumer has requested no further contact or refuses to pay a debt; and to stop violating any provision of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. They also must record at least 75 percent of their debt collection calls beginning one year after the date of the order, and keep the recordings for 90 days after they are made.
     Expert and its subsidiaries - ALW Sourcing, NCO Financial Systems, and Transworld Systems aka North Short Agency, also collect debts in Canada, India, the Philippines, Panama and Barbados.
     The consent decree is subject to court approval.