A debt collector has agreed to not apply for a license to collect in Minnesota for five years and will cease and desist from performing any collection activity in the state while also voiding or waiving collection fees it is owed by consumers dating back to July 2019 as part of a settlement with the state’s Department of Commerce.
The collector, EquityExperts.org Midwest, was accused of sending collection-related correspondence directly to a consumer when it knew that consumer was represented by an attorney. As well, the collector failed to notify the state of a new bond when its surety bond lapsed. It did obtain a new bond, but did not notify the state, according to the consent order. The collector was also accused of operating in Minnesota without a proper license for the past six months.
The violations allegedly committed by the collector caused it to violate a consent order it entered into with the state back in July 2019. That consent order imposed a $115,000 fine, which was stayed on the condition that the collector commit no further violations of any state rule or law. That penalty will continue to be stayed, provided the collector complies with the terms of the 2019 order and “engages in no future violation” of any rule, law, or order, according to the consent order.
The collector has agreed to waive or void any collection fees that have been incurred since July 2019 and are currently owed or claimed to be owed to the collector by any Minnesota homeowners’ association or consumer. The collector does not have to refund any fees that have been previously paid.