A Massachusetts collection agency has agreed to a $15,000 settlement with the Attorney General of North Carolina for allegedly attempting to collect debts in the Tarheel State without obtaining a proper license.
The collection agency, Goldberg & Donovan, were also accused of violating North Carolina’s Collection Agency Act by pretending to be an attorney, harassing individuals, and making threats, according to a release from the Attorney General’s office announcing the settlement. The agency was hired after a two men attempted to bill homeowners in North Carolina $14,500 for tree removal services after Hurricane Florence without the homeowners first agreeing to that price.
When the homeowners did not pay the invoice, the two men hired the collection agency, which did not have a permit to collect debts in North Carolina. The agency and the two men, who were operating at Scotts Tree Service, were named as co-defendants in a price gouging lawsuit brought by the AG.
“This out-of-state debt collector was not permitted to operate in our state, but still tried to take advantage of North Carolinians,” said Josh Stein, the North Carolina Attorney General. “My office will not abide price gougers or their conspirators who break laws designed to protect North Carolina consumers.”
The defendants denied the allegations made against them in the settlement, but ultimately chose to settle to put an end to the matter.
Under the settlement, the defendants are permanently barred from collecting debts in North Carolina, are ordered to pay $2,000 in attorney’s fees, and pay $38,000 in civil penalties, $25,000 of which is suspended as long as the defendants comply with the terms of the settlement.