Alaska and 18 other states have reached a settlement with debt collector NCO Financial Systems, Inc. (NCOF) resolving allegations of deceptive and unfair debt collection practices.
The State of Alaska will receive a share of $26,562. NCOF has agreed to pay $575,000 to the states for consumer protection enforcement and education efforts.
In the settlement, NCOF agrees to:
- Comply with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, and all applicable state laws.
- For debts reported to the credit reporting agencies, notify the credit reporting agencies within 30 calendar days of (1) any verbal or written consumer dispute or (2) receiving the results of an investigation into the accuracy or completeness of previously reported information.
- Provide notice to consumers about their debt collection rights under federal and state law.
- Monitor compliance, including training and monitoring its representatives and independent contractors, creating written policies and procedures for handling consumer complaints, and submitting compliance reports to the states every 6 months for 18 months.
Additionally, consumer restitution will be available for three years following the effective date of the agreement. NCOF will set aside a total of $950,000, or $50,000 for each of the 19 participating states, to refund consumers who have valid claims that meet one of the following criteria:
- Consumer paid NCOF a third party debt that the consumer did not owe;
- Consumer overpaid interest on a third party debt that was not supported by the underlying agreement between the debtor and the original holder of the debt or as otherwise permitted by law; or
- Consumer paid more on a third party debt than the amount NCOF agreed to settle the account.
Alaska consumers who believe they have a valid claim for restitution should file a consumer complaint form with the Consumer Protection Unit of the Alaska Attorney General’s Office before February 2015.
Valid complaints will be submitted to NCOF, and NCOF will provide payments to eligible consumers.