The California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation yesterday announced it has sent desist-and-refrain orders to five different collection operations, accusing them of operating in the state without applying for a license and other unlawful and deceptive acts and practices.
The five operations are:
- Amherst and Associates
- Clayton Banner and Associates
- SARS Solutions
- Marvin, McCall and Associates
- Franklin, Moss & Associates
Copies of the orders sent to each company can be accessed by clicking on their names above.
Amherst and Associates was ordered to pay a fine of $20,000; Clayton Banner and Associates was ordered to pay $30,000; SARS Solutions was ordered to pay $17,500; Marvin, McCall and Associates was ordered to pay $30,000; and Franklin, Moss & Associates was ordered to pay $22,500.
Among the allegations made against the companies were:
- Engaging in debt collection in California without a license from the DFPI
- Attempting to collect a debt that a consumer did not owe
- Making unlawful threats to sue on debts
- Making false claims of pending lawsuits
- Failing to notify consumers of their right to request validation of debts
- Making false claims about the authority to collect a debt
- Unlawfully threatening to seize property
- Failing to provide a “validation notice” as required by federal law
“The DFPI has seen an increase in fake debt collector scams in recent months,” said DFPI Commissioner Clothilde Hewlett in a statement. “We are committed to rigorous, ongoing enforcement efforts to protect Californians from these deceitful practices. We urge consumers to take great caution and always confirm the debt in writing.”