Are Debt Collectors renting Prosecutors’ stationery?
Sept. 17, 2012
Collection letters sent by the thousands to people across the country who have written bad checks and threaten jail if they don’t pay up. While they bear the seal and signature of the local district attorney’s office, they have come straight from the Debt Collector, and no district attorney has reviewed them before they were mailed.
For the collection companies, the partnerships offer a distinct financial benefit: the “financial accountability” classes. Typically, a small portion of the class fees, which can exceed $150, are passed on to the district attorneys’ offices. Check writers are led to believe that unless they take the courses, they could end up in jail. Because the cases are not fully investigated, there is no way of knowing whether the bad checks were the result of innocent mistakes or intentional fraud.
The two main debt collectors — California-based CorrectiveSolutions and BounceBack of Missouri — return millions of dollars each year to retailers including Safeway, Target and Walmart.
Is this legal or unlawful intimidation? Not all jurisdictions agree. If you receive a letter like this, please contact the Consumer Legal Clinic, LLC.