If you received a call from Pinnacle Payment Services telling you that you had to pay up or you were going to jail or going to be sued, then you may not be seeing any money from them without a fight. They were given a $9,384,628 judgment that had to be suspended for most of the defendants because of their inability to pay.
But if you didn’t receive threatening correspondence from Pinnacle Payment Services but from Global Legal Services, dockets Liens & Seizures, or Allied Litigation Group, you really did receive a call from Pinnacle Payment Services using a fictitious name. Using a fictitious name is illegal and a violation of a consumer’s rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
The FDCPA was created to make sure debt collectors do not use abusive tactics in order to coerce customers into making their payments. In this particular case, the debt collection agency threatened many consumers by telling them that their wages would be garnished, their bank accounts would be closed, or they would file felony fraud charges against them. They even threatened people with arrest if they failed to pay the debts. These are actions that are against the FDCPA and can result in a debt collector being heavily fined. The victims may also be able to receive settlements from debt collectors that violate their rights under the FDCPA.
According to a complaint filed with the FTC in 2013, Pinnacle used fictitious business names that implied they were affiliated with a law enforcement agency or law firm. They also allegedly used robocalls and voice messages to threaten legal action and arrest unless the consumers responded in a matter of days. Millions of dollars were collected through these tactics and some of the debts were phantom debts, which meant the consumers contacted did not owe them, according to the FTC. In other words, individuals were defrauded out of money and, because Pinnacle may not have the money to pay what they owe, these individuals may not see their money back in their pockets without fighting for it.
Based on the alleged violations, the FTC stopped the illegal conduct, pending their final resolution on the matter.
The settlements that were reached with the individual defendants ban them from ever collecting debts again, including helping anyone else engage in the selling or collection of debts. According to the FTC, they are also not allowed to make misrepresentations related to the provision of any financial services or products. They must also destroy all of the consumer information that they have on file.
These actions by the FTC settle the commission’s charges against the defendants. Any time a debt collection company is found to be in violation of the FDCPA, the FTC acts quickly to stop the violations and get to the bottom of the matter. Those that are violated can acquire the representation of an attorney to help them in making claims against companies that violate their rights and even recover compensation for the damages done as a result of those illegal activities.