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Financial Credit Services Inc Informative - Burned by the AG of IL

Review by Mad Eye Moody on 2006-05-19
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit against an aggressive debt collection agency that allegedly used unfair pressure tactics and misrepresentations to convince consumers they had to make payments on often uncollectible debt.
Madigan’s lawsuit names as defendants Financial Credit Service, Inc., an Illinois corporation based in Palatine, Bruce Cohen, individually and as President, and Mario Bianchi, individually and as Secretary.

Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division has received 88 complaints against Financial Credit Service, alleging the collection agency used unfair and deceptive representations to obtain payments on uncollectible debt. In some cases, consumers alleged they were intimidated into making payments of between $100 and $5,000. In other reported instances, the defendants allegedly deducted money from the consumer’s bank account without the consumer’s permission.

The complaints have been sent in from consumers across the country. In Illinois, complaints have been received from consumers in Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Rock Island Whiteside and Williamson Counties.

“According to the numerous consumer complaints my office has received, Financial Credit Service and its company representatives have unfairly harassed Illinois consumers – including senior citizens – and used intimidation to get payments for uncollectible debt,” Madigan said.

According to the lawsuit, filed today in Cook County Circuit Court, the defendants purchased debt from various entities and then attempted to collect on that debt from consumers. Often, the debt was more than 20 years old and therefore too old to be collected under the law, had been discharged in bankruptcy or was not actually owed by the consumer they were contacting for collection. In many cases, the defendants allegedly did not verify that the debt was valid and owed by the consumer in question.

Madigan alleges the defendants sent collection letters and called consumers, often using abusive language to intimidate the consumer. In some cases, collectors from Financial Credit Service allegedly called consumers at their places of employment to harass them.

In addition, Madigan alleges Financial Credit Service ignored or refused consumer requests to verify the debt or improperly informed consumers that they would have to pay a fee to receive those documents.

When attempting to collect on the debts, Financial Credit Service representatives allegedly made numerous misrepresentations, including (1) that they are attorneys and that the company would file a lawsuit if the debt is not paid; (2) that the company would file a lien against the consumer’s property if the debt was not paid; (3) that the consumer could be arrested or imprisoned for failing to pay the debt; (4) that the consumer’s wages would be garnished if the debt was not paid; (5) that the consumer has a legal obligation to pay the debt; and (6)that the consumer’s credit report would be negatively affected if the debt was not paid.

Madigan’s lawsuit asks the court to prohibit the defendants from engaging in the business of purchasing and collecting debt and from further violating Illinois’ consumer protection laws. The lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation found to have been committed with the intent to defraud. Madigan’s lawsuit also seeks a civil penalty of $10,000 per violation committed against a person 65 years of age or older. Finally, Madigan’s lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to pay restitution to consumers.
Comments:13 Replies - Latest reply on 2010-10-17
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-05-20:
DB should love this one.
Posted by circle6 on 2006-06-05:
FCS contacted me last year regarding a charged off credit card from approximately 12 or more years ago. They were aggressive, threatening, etc. In the end, we agreed on a settlement of $1500, to be deducted from my checking account monthly. I have this settlement in writing. Now FCS claims it was a "tenative" agreement. This is wildly unethical, and I welcome their attempt to litigate. My advice to anyone being harrassed by this company is to check with an attorney first, especially if the debt is very old.
Posted by Jai on 2006-06-22:
I live in GA and was recently contacted by this company. When I explained that they had contacted me before and I requested proof of the debt and they never replied I again asked for proof of the debt and they got nasty, telling me my credit report would be impacted and that I never paid bills and they would authorize litigation. I have monitoring on my credit report and noticed that they checked my credit report the day we spoke. I am going to file a complaint here to find out how many additional victims there are. You have a write to have them verify the debt.
Posted by Jai on 2006-06-22:
oops right to have them verify the debt
Posted by NittanyL on 2006-07-27:
This company called my husband this week trying to collect at debt on an account that was closed over 11 years ago!! They are very rude, mumble so you can't understand them, threatened to place a judgment against him, cited the "new bankruptcy laws" that allow them to do that (never filed bankruptcy, here) and they had our social security numbers and everything! Where do I complain? I called my old employer - a lawyer!! - and if they call back I will refer them to him. I hope Illinois Courts stomp them out!
Posted by jastea on 2006-08-16:
They called today and threaten to take us out to court for a loan I supposedly was authorized to use. They kept on changing their story and said they don't have the "loan papers" for me to see. I would see the papers in court if I don't pay. I wasted my whole day calling around to make sense of the supposed loan. Then the manager was making up all these excuses and trying to use all these big words to make me feel like an idiot. The loan was not even under my name but they had my SS#. I should sue them back for all the grief and lies they put me through today! Why haven't they been shut down by the government?
Posted by jastea on 2006-08-16:
By the way...thanks this this, my brother was able to find out that they are frauds! Thx!
Posted by jcman46 on 2006-09-28:
I'm going throught the same thing with this company. They sent me a bill for 3,000 something dolars and for a credit card that I never had and threatend me saying that I don't pay my bills and that they were going to sue me. I told them that they were going to here from my lawyers(dont have one lol but didnt know what else to say) how can I get in on this lawsuit that this atterney general has going on. I want to sue them for harassement fraud and anything else I can.
Posted by teqjack on 2006-10-05:
This company recently contacted me about a rwelve year old debt, which I paid off in 2004. But they told me hat unless I still have the notice from the other company I am still liable. In August they offered a $5000 settlement, but in October called and offered a $3000 settlement - but when I said I could not afford it, they offered a $1000 settlement. Bot sure if it is a scam, but intend to tell them I won't pay again for this debt.
Posted by Dacubs on 2006-10-05:
I just received a letter saying I owe almost $3700. It has no date or mention of who the creditor was. Something made me google this FCS and that's how I came to this page. Granted, I've had past debt but nothing like this so I am very confused and it's scary to think messed up companies like FCS exist. I live Las Vegas now but used to live in IL so way to go for Attorney General to go after these people. I was going to call this company and find out what this debt was for and find out but now I am not sure as after reading all this, I do not feel like getting stressed out from them. Any suggestions or should I just take this to an attorney and have them deal with it? Or should I just go ahead and try and deal with FCS first then take it from there? HELP! Thanks guys!

Posted by powers on 2006-11-25:
FCS is a marketing firm not a law firm. I'm on the donotcall.org list. I'm thinking about reporting them. It is $500 an offense. I wonder if attorney general madigan knows about this? Do they have FCS phone records? Can they check previous calls or does someone on the donotcall.org list have to complain first? How do you contact the attorny general in illinois?
Posted by powers on 2006-11-27:
OOPS. It is donotcall.gov and the fine is $11,000 each time they call you. If you are not signed up at donotcall.gov you should be. They are run by the FTC.
Posted by Tall Shopper on 2010-10-17:
I just wanted to add that a financial advisor heard on radio programs, Dave Ramsey, has details on what to do when dealing with collection agencies. DaveRamsey.com has free step by step guidance as well. The best solution is to stay out of debt in the first place, but if you've made mistakes or bad choices in the past you've got to deal with them. He shows you how.

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