LOS ANGELES (CN) – A debt collection agency will have to pony up $9 million for violating California and federal consumer protection laws, according to a settlement announced Wednesday.
“California law protects all consumers, even those who are behind in their payments, from constant harassing phone calls,” Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. “We will strictly enforce laws designed to protect consumers from illegal and abusive phone-calling practices.”
The settlement is one of the largest of its kind, according to the District Attorney’s office, which filed the underlying lawsuit against iQor US and its subsidiary Allied Interstate in 2016.
The class action said the debt-collection giants used aggressive tactics such as harassing phone calls, repeat calls to wrong numbers and robo-dialing technology.
According to the lawsuit, at one point a police officer had to order the company to leave a couple alone who received hundreds of calls even after telling the debt collector it had the wrong number.
The collection company also tried to collect on debts that had been discharged in bankruptcy, and they called before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m., according to the complaint.
As part of the settlement, the company and its affiliates must operate within strict parameters, which include training employees who make calls on consumer protection laws, keeping records of calls and providing an audit by a third party over the next five years.
The settlement includes $8 million in civil penalties to be paid over two years, plus $1 million for attorneys’ fees.
Allied Interstate did not respond to an email seeking comment by press time.