It’s bad enough that we have recession-themed companies trying to fleece us right and left, but one Pennsylvania company may be the 2010 record-setter for deceptive debt collection tactics.
The PA Attorney General has revealed that a fake courtroom, Sheriff’s Deputy lookalikes, and implied arrests may have been used to deceive debtors into handing over cars, money, & bank data.
A press release issued by Attorney General Tom Corbett’s Press Office had the following statement: “Unicredit America Inc is accused of violating Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and also failed to comply with state and Erie County court rules in order to extract payments from consumers.”
The full press release is located at: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=5763
A news website, www.thepittsburghchannel.com, has featured the situation in a Team 4 new story. The Team 4 story revealed an interview with Erie County Sheriff Robert Merski, who appeared upset over the violations to the integrity of his office. The full story, with video, is posted at: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/r/25569199/detail.html
According to the Team 4 report, Jim Parsons (Team 4) asked the President of Unicredit (Mike Covatto) to show him the “fake courtroom” and Mr. Covatto refused to comment.
News reporting aside, it bears repeating that debtors need to know what their rights are. Please be reminded that debt collectors cannot have you arrested and put in jail for consumer debt, such as credit cards or medical debt.
Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute has a very informative section on unfair debt collection practices: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/15/usc_sec_15_00001692—f000-.html For info on false or misleading representations: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/15/usc_sec_15_00001692—e000-.html
PA Attorney General Tom Corbett’s Press Office, http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=5763
The Pittsburgh Channel’s Team 4 (newscast), http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/r/25569199/detail.html