(CN) – The Oxford Collection Agency settled claims with the Federal Trade Commission over its allegedly abusive collection tactics, including threats of prosecution and harassing calls.
The collection agency, doing business as Oxford Management Services, allegedly told customers that they would lose their income, get arrested or face legal action if they didn’t pay their debts, according to the FTC’s complaint.
The company allegedly called debtors before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., phoned their workplaces at inconvenient times, and told employers, co-workers, relatives and neighbors of the debtors about the money owed. The FTC said Oxford employees used profane language on the phone calls and called right back after a consumer hung up.
Oxford also ignored written demands to stop the abusive practices, the FTC claimed.
Consumers filed hundreds of complaints, which were largely ignored, according to the government. Oxford employees either went unpunished or received only a warning.
A federal judge in Brooklyn ordered the company and three of its directors to pay $225,000, reduced from a $1 million civil penalty. An attorney for the defendants was excused from the judgment based on his inability to pay.
The company managed 3 million accounts, collecting debts in all 50 states.
The order bars Oxford Collection Agency and its owners from committing further violations of the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the company will be under strict FTC supervision.