World's Biggest Debt Collector in Plano Pays Biggest Fine Ever for Being Just Awful, Won't Have to Admit Actually Being Awful

Categories: Biz

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Expert Global Solutions. It's got one of those corporate-speak, nonsense names just nebulous enough to defy Yellow-Pages categorization. But it is, among many other things, a debt collector -- the biggest around, in fact -- and it's headquartered in Plano, where the Federal Trade Commission says it has been harassing the shit out of people for some time now.

It also just paid $3.2 million to the FTC to settle a federal beef for flouting just about every tenet of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, passed into law to protect consumers from abusive debt collectors. It's the biggest settlement ever paid out under the law, though Unfair Park can't help but wonder how much a few million will chasten a company that logged $1.54 billion in revenues in 2011. EGS can take comfort in the fact that the settlement it agreed to allows it to "neither admit nor deny" any of the allegations listed in a federal complaint. It's the kind of non-apology apology we see all the time when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fines financial firms for malfeasance.

Nevertheless, a spokesman for the FTC tells Unfair Park the regulator believes the settlement will telegraph an unmistakable message. "Expert Global Solutions is the world's largest debt collector. They're industry leaders and their practices could be influential to the industry as whole," he said. "And this order could provide insight to other companies in the industry as to how the FTC interprets the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, how we intend to enforce it and the standards we intend to hold companies to in the future."

Let's talk about some of the practices EGS is accused of but not at all admitting to, that the FTC would like the rest of the industry to avoid: For example, they called one man, over a four-month period, every day, 12 times a day.

They called some other poor, allegedly indebted schmuck twice an hour, every day for two months. During business hours, of course.

They called people at work who don't have the kinds of jobs where they can take personal calls.

They dropped a dragnet and phoned other people to locate the debtor, disclosing the fact that they're trying to collect a debt, then calling back repeatedly despite being told that person doesn't know how to get in touch with the debtor, or that the debtor doesn't live there anymore.

FTC won't discuss how many complaints make up the body of its investigation, but it spans several years. Now, an enormous, multibillion-dollar titan of the industry will shell out a few million. All the while, it admits nothing.

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41 comments
Janik
Janik

People in Plano have tons of consumer debt. Plano is often mistakenly referred to as an "affluent" community. Well, sure, if you define affluence by how many credit cards someone has.I shop in Plano and almost every time, I wind up in line behind some phony woman with a designer handbag, who tries to pay with a credit card that gets declined. Then she pulls out another credit card, and it also is declined; and again and again. Sorry, I grew up in Highland Park and just am not familiar with this "living on plastic" lifestyle.

Joe Van Oflen
Joe Van Oflen

Well said Steve, doborah must come from one of those silver spoon families

leftocenter
leftocenter

The world's biggest a$$holes are in Plano, TX?  Is the call center there too? 

We share the roads with these folks -- explains the driving and road rage...

Steve Austin
Steve Austin

Consider this, things happen...People lose their jobs, companies close no one can tell the future. Trying to maintain a household on unemployment and savings just does't cut it sometimes. Feel fortunate that this hasn't happened to you judging by your comment.

Deborah Mike Brakefield
Deborah Mike Brakefield

Not to appear to be on their side, but............consider this, if you paid your bills that you made, you would not be talking to those people!!!!!!!!

Melvin Willis
Melvin Willis

The sailors, Marines and cops in my family enhanced my vocabulary allowing me to be just as nasty back.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I bet you can call this company up even today and say, "I think I owe you $50. Where do I send it?" (ha!)

Then give them your name and telephone number.

They'll be on you like a chicken on a Junebug.

And the amount will not be $50.  It will be some sum of money you will ultimately agree to in order to make them go away.

Then they sell your account to the next bunch.

The infamous offshore calling center from hell.

It is not what you may or may not owe.

It is the psychology of how much they can collect.

otherwise you would be dealing with the company who extended you the credit.

Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
Terry S. Singeltary Sr.

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2013-07-11/news/the-new-hornographers/ breeding cervids, captive shooting pens, straw bread bucks, antler mills, sperm mills, all these type business are a petri dish for Chronic Wasting Disease CWD. not that it matters to the TAHC, they been letting CWD waltz across Texas from the WSMR in NM since around 2002, where I told them then, it was waltzing across from the TRANS PECOS region. did the listen? no, and the rest is history. TEXAS is CWD positive now. and YES, CWD does transmit to other species, and YES, there is a risk factor for humans, and that risk factor has grown now that there are multiple strains of CWD. these are the facts as I have come to know them doing daily research of the TSE CWD mad cow type prion, after loosing my mother to the hvCJD 'confirmed', 15 years ago. sporadic CJD cases are rising, and the age is getting younger. ... *** The potential impact of prion diseases on human health was greatly magnified by the recognition that interspecies transfer of BSE to humans by beef ingestion resulted in vCJD. While changes in animal feed constituents and slaughter practices appear to have curtailed vCJD, there is concern that CWD of free-ranging deer and elk in the U.S. might also cross the species barrier. Thus, consuming venison could be a source of human prion disease. Whether BSE and CWD represent interspecies scrapie transfer or are newly arisen prion diseases is unknown. Therefore, the possibility of transmission of prion disease through other food animals cannot be ruled out. There is evidence that vCJD can be transmitted through blood transfusion. There is likely a pool of unknown size of asymptomatic individuals infected with vCJD, and there may be asymptomatic individuals infected with the CWD equivalent. These circumstances represent a potential threat to blood, blood products, and plasma supplies. http://cdmrp.army.mil/prevfunded/nprp/NPRP_Summit_Final_Report.pdf Friday, December 14, 2012 Susceptibility Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in wild cervids to Humans 2005 – December 14, 2012 http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2012/12/susceptibility-chronic-wasting-disease.html Tuesday, April 16, 2013 Cervid Industry Unites To Set Direction for CWD Reform and seem to ignore their ignorance and denial in their role in spreading Chronic Wasting Disease http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2013/04/cervid-industry-unites-to-set-direction.html Monday, June 24, 2013 The Effects of Chronic Wasting Disease on the Pennsylvania Cervid Industry Following its Discovery http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-effects-of-chronic-wasting-disease.html Thursday, June 20, 2013 atypical, BSE, CWD, Scrapie, Captive Farmed shooting pens (livestock), Wild Cervids, Rectal Mucosa Biopsy 2012 USAHA Proceedings, and CJD TSE prion Update http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2013/06/atypical-bse-cwd-scrapie-captive-farmed.html Monday, February 11, 2013 TEXAS CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE CWD Four New Positives Found in Trans Pecos http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2013/02/texas-chronic-wasting-disease-cwd-four.html Tuesday, July 10, 2012 Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Far West Texas http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/releases/?req=20120710a http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2012/07/chronic-wasting-disease-detected-in-far.html Thursday, July 04, 2013 New TAHC Movement Requirements for Species Susceptible to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2013/07/new-tahc-movement-requirements-for.html kind regards, terry

Darrell Crawford
Darrell Crawford

So they got off with a slap on the wrist, will probably not change what they are doing (it is getting them billions a year after all) and the public will remain in the dark on how to stop these people. They can be stopped, you all know that right?

Jim Davis
Jim Davis

I would go to their office and beat someones a**!!

Joe Downey
Joe Downey

Difference between these Collectors at EGS and Sperm Sperm has a Billion in Once chance of becoming Human

James080
James080 topcommenter

Several years ago, I received a call from a man pleading with me to immediately go over to my neighbor's house across the street and make sure he was OK, the story being that he was alone, in bad health, and not answering his phone. I went and rang the door bell and told my neighbor who was trying to call him. Of course, it turned out to be a pig-f-ing debt collector posing as a concerned friend, involving me in his debt collection harassment campaign. These people are scum.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Most revolving and credit card debt is discharged after three years.  These credit collection cos buy the debt for a few pennies on the dollar then harass until they get the debtor to pay a little, which re-activates the debt.  

Do not pay, do not admit you owe money (in writing) and send the company a no-contact letter, certified, return receipt requested.  

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection

This works almost every time.  If it doesn't. Texas has a very strong debt collection harassment law.  The Atty General WILL go after them.  Contact the Atty General.

https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/debt_collection.shtml

This is probably what happened to this bunch above.

The big thing is, these debts are already discharged by the debtor and these guys are just dialing for dollars, so don't enter into any repayment of the discharged debt.  You don't owe these debt collectors anything.

They cannot ding your credit report nor can they even access it, and it falls off in a few years . . . unless you send them money, THEN they can restart it on your credit report.

Again, you don't owe these people anything.

They are just another crook on the phone asking for money.

mcdallas
mcdallas

What will happen if they don't pay the fine?  In an irony of ironies, is it possible that it could be sent to collections?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@holmantx

I watched the documentary "Maxed Out" a couple of years ago and was amazed by the candid interviews these debt collectors gave about their methods and motivation. I would say that these folks are definitely willing to bend the rules a little bit to get you to pay. And why not? There are no teeth in the laws that regulate these folks.

"Twilight" has nothing on these bloodsuckers.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@holmantx I don't have any outstanding debt(that I know of) But I did have a situation in college when I had a $400 limit, was stupid and didn't pay it, and it ballooned to over $1k in late fees and interest. They eventually wrote it off and sold it to a collection company who were on my ass calling everyday, wanting me to pay them $1k, then $800, 700, so on. The funny thing was, I was a dumb kid and was interested in paying and asked if I could do it in installments. They kept telling me no, it's all or nothing or we take you to court. I finally got fed up with it, I was willing to pay what I owed originally($400) but told them to just sue me. I was in college and didn't have anything anyways, and the threats ensued of me not being able to get a job, car, apt, etc etc.  

These people are scum, even when you want to pay them they want to screw you so yes you are giving good advice. If the creditor is so quick to write you off instead of working with you, then I don't feel bad about the write off. I don't understand why so many companies are so fast to just sell their debt instead of working with people, but it is what it is.  I don't know how people can work for a company like this calling people everyday that in most cases just can't pay for it(medical bills mostly, how is someone making $20-$40k/year going to pay off a $40k bill???)


mcdallas
mcdallas

@Terry S. Singeltary Sr. I didn't know that Wikipedia had morphed into an autobot posting on DO articles.  Neato.  Also, THANKS for your EXCESSIVE use of ALL CAPS.  We all love to be YELLED AT!

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@holmantx  

Regardless of whether or not the debt was purchased, you can always demand (and will receive) that you will only deal with the original creditor.


I have had to do this with a few medical bills as when the creditor automatically sent the bill to collection at 30 days.

ruddski
ruddski

Until they work for you, eh?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @holmantx 

The trend now is to just pick up the telephone book and start dialing.  Odds are they'll hit somebody who can be easily convinced they owe money (typically something like $47,657.56 or some other outrageous amount) and that the harassment will stop if you send them a couple of hundred.  It's become that naked.  They are banking on the psychology that some little old lady or Mr. Peevers at one time owed money to somebody and they are here to collect.

Best thing is to just get their mailing address and send them a no-contact letter, CRRR.  Then if they contact again, turn them over to the Atty General.

This WILL stop the harassment. 

monstruss
monstruss

@ruddski are there any scumbags you won't defend?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ruddski debt collection companies dont work for anyone but themselves.  They buy the debt for pennies, then try to collect the full amounts plus admin fees and such.  fuck these scum

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@monstruss @monstruss Dianne Feinstein, Charlie Rangel, John Wylie Price, Royce West, Eddie Bernice Johnson.  I'm only guessing but I'm pretty sure Rudd won't be found in the cheering section for any of these scumbags.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ruddski

The object of the exercise is to collect a few hundred bucks.  Whether you ow it or not is not the point.  No one will sue a corp ginning over a billion a year to stop harassment and they know it.  That is what the Atty General is for (see above art.)

"Depending on the state, the statute of limitations on the debt has almost certainly expired, says Gerri Detweiler, Credit.com's consumer credit expert."

"Which means the collector, an attorney, may not have the right to collect the debt in the first place.

"The statute of limitations for most consumer debts runs between four and six years," Detweiler says. "After that time, debt collectors in most states can't successfully sue to collect the debt."

And if you pay them $10 bucks, you give them legal recourse.  You open it back up.  

So if you owe $57,000 on a $1,200 credit card 10 years ago after you had paid the CC company $5,000 including interest and penalties but stopped because you could never catch up and they would never settle . . . are you ready?

You don't owe some third-party debt collection company who the credit card company sold the paper to in hope they can successfully harass you into paying $10 so they can REALLY start harassing you.

But if you feel guilty then be my guest - pay them $10 then see what happens.  For that discharged debt is now so big they'll swing for the fences.  

The business plan of this kind of company is to wrench as much money out of you regardless of whether of the amount of the debt, or if it even owed.

In other words, these people will take all the money you give them whether you owe them or not.  The business plan merely revolves around the cost of the paper and overhead, vs the amount you collect.  And aggressive harassment is the motivating component, not whether you owe it or not.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @holmantx @anon @ruddski

At this juncture, you are trying to stop harassment by a third-party debt collection company for a debt that has been discharged.  

A discharged debt after a few years is beyond the statute of limitations to then recover it via a civil suit.

In fact, the debt collection company is barred from even threatening it:

Debt collectors also are prohibited from saying that:

legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.

ruddski
ruddski

If you don't owe and can prove it, sue. If you do owe but don't intend to pay, ignore the calls

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@anon @ruddski 

The most common situation is a revolving debt or credit card with a balance owed of $1,200 15 years ago.  The debtor paid for years on it, probably paying the CC company $5 to $10 grand including penalties and interest, paying the minimum a month.  Finally, 10 years ago the debtor just stopped paying on a 23% interest card.  The CC company actually made a lot of money of this slow-payer - far more then what the principal owed was.

Years later, after the CC Co. discharged the debt and it fell off your credit report, these guys show up with an astronomical amount owed . . . 

but will settle for $400 (ha!).

DO NOT pay these guys anything.  It sets up a legal claim so they REALLY harass the hell out of you.

Seriously, you don't owe these people any money.  

The only thing they have is full-bore harassment, and you can take that away from them quick.

But for God's sake, don't give them any money.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

@scottindallas @ruddski Amen! Three different times I've had them claim I owed money just because I had the same very common last name and lived on the same very common street name as a jackass in Duluth.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@ruddski What if you don't owe, but they insist?  Grow the fuck up and maybe your insular ass will gain some compassion. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ruddski yes that works, depending on who you deal with.  not every company is willing to work with people.  I know from helping out a couple of friends who hit rough spots what trying to do the right thing can still end up in a shitty situation with those assholes calling you 14 times a week.  

ruddski
ruddski

I once had a similar occurence with apt. management. Sued. Won.

Had 50K hospital bill. Made arrangements to pay what i could at the time. No prob.

Lots of people have lots of excuses, but really, just pay your effing bills.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@ScottsMerkin @ruddski There's usually a difference between these circumstances and ones where debt collector work is needed.  The difference is time, attitude, and willingness to at least talk about the issue.  The emu approach doesn't work.

anon
anon

@ruddski I had a dispute with my old apartment complex that they said I owed them almost a thousand dollars when moving out. I told immediately that I disputed the amount. A week later they had simply sold the claim to a collections agency and told me I could handle it with them. 6 months and many many emails and hours on the phone later, I had documentation in writing with the apartment's regional manager of the correct, and much lower amount, owed. I quickly paid it in full. Fast forward to now, and I still have a collection on my credit report. I submitted the documentation to the credit bureaus but they said that because the claim had, in fact, been sent to a collection agency, it would remain on my credit report for 7 years. The lower credit score I have because of this fraud has cost me multiples of thousands because I qualify for decent, but not rock bottom interest rates until that item is gone. Therefore, it is in my economic interest to simply pay money that I don't owe rather than have the apartment complex send a bogus bill to collections. The flipside is that the apartment complex's incentive is to lie and charge outgoing residents whatever they want. The fact is that this entire industry is an example of a private market failure. The industry needs significantly more regulation because it's clear to anyone who isn't a fucking idiot that it is rife with abuse to honest, bill-paying people. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ruddski Heartless are ya?  aren't you special that you never ran across a time in your life where you didnt have enough money to pay the bills.  Or had a hospital bill so outrageous that you couldnt pay.  

ruddski
ruddski

I couldn't care less, pay your damn bills.

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