CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The state of Ohio holding alleged bad debt collectors accountable in a new lawsuit.
The state attorney general is going after the Northeast Ohio debt collection company saying, “We want to do everything in our legal authority to go to bat for the people of Ohio.”
Attorney Dave Yost says officials recently received more than 40 complaints against Advanced Capitol Solutions.
The lawsuit alleges the Canton-based debt collectors' conduct was harassing or abusive in some instances.
Collectors were allegedly contacting family members and employers of those who allegedly owed.
And, the suit says in some instances, the company was trying to collect debt that had already been paid.
“That stuff is not kosher,” Yost said. “You’re just not allowed to do that.”
This is something the attorney general promised to do at the beginning of the pandemic--bring action against companies trying to collect debt using illegal methods, when so many people are in a tough financial position.
“Which is not to say you shouldn’t pay the debts you owe, but it is to say that they have to play fair and play by the rules,” Yost said.
The AG’s office got help from other members of the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad like the local BBB and federal trade commission to bring this case.
“I’m not sure that this is caused by the pandemic, but it exacerbates the problem in the pandemic ... when many people are really starting to feel the pitch economically,” Yost said.
Together the agencies are trying to curb illegal debt collecting methods state wide.
But, Yost said a lawsuit like the most recent one wouldn’t be possible without residents.
“This is basically a function of the consumers themselves, talking to us, reaching out, letting us know that the debt collectors were going over the line,” he said.
The suit calls for a judge to find Advanced Capitol Solutions in violation of the law and order it to stop all business during the litigation.
As of this morning, the company is still operating.
When we called to ask about the allegations in the lawsuit, a spokesperson in the office said the company had no comment.
The AG said there are two things you should do if you get a call from a debt collector.
First, ask exactly what debt the person is trying to recoup.
“If they refuse to tell you, it might be called phantom debt, which is debt that maybe doesn’t exist at all or is maybe not your debt,” Yost said.
And, don’t be afraid to contact the AG or FTC in a questionable case.