Washington AG Sues Collector Over ‘Settlement Offers’ For Time-Barred Debts

The Attorney General of Washington on Friday filed a lawsuit against Convergent Outsourcing, accusing the company of “pushing” individuals to settle time-barred debts by creating a “deceptive impression” that the company would sue to collect on the debt when it could not.

A copy of the complaint, filed in a Washington state court, can be accessed by clicking here.

The collection agency allegedly violated the state’s Collection Agency Act and Consumer Protection Act by sending more than 75,000 letters to residents of Washington state and “millions” more to individuals in other states between 2013 and 2015, none of which disclosed that the statutes of limitations had expired and the debts were not legally enforceable, according to the complaint.

The letters were titled “Settlement Offer” and included a deadline under which individuals needed to respond to be able to take advantage of the offer that was being made, according to the complaint.

“Debt collection companies cannot use deception as a means to get around the law,” said Bob Ferguson, Washington’s Attorney General, in a statement. “I intend to hold this large, sophisticated debt collection corporation accountable for its unlawful conduct putting profits above the law.”

About 3,300 individuals in Washington responded to the letters that were sent, according to the AG’s office.

In filing its lawsuit, the Attorney General’s offices appears to be relying on a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals back in 2016 against Convergent in which it ruled that letters from the company could mislead individuals into thinking they could be sued for debts in which the statute of limitations had expired.

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