Agency that Collects Bad Check Fees Sued

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CNN.com posted an article, written by Drew Griffin and David Fitzpatrick, highlighting a particular organization that works with prosecutors’ offices to collect fees from bad checks.

However, the article says that when the American Corrective Counseling Services contacts individuals who have written bad checks, they often claim to be part of the attorney general’s office…which they are not.

The ACCS was hired by the Florida county prosecutors’ office to collect fees from bad checks, they are not a part of the prosecutors’ office, as they would tell some people, such as Michael and Michelle O’Neil. The couple ended up paying $265 in fees for a bounced check of $14.

The ACCS “splits the money it collects with the prosecutor’s office. But it also makes money from financial management courses that people who wrote the checks are required by law to attend at their own expense. And the company’s contract with the prosecutor’s office states those classes are its “principal business activity.”

Lawsuits in three states have been filed in an attempt to stop the ACCS. “Deepak Gupta, the group’s chief attorney in Washington, said companies like ACCS are effectively “renting out the prosecutor’s seal” to collect money on cases prosecutors would not otherwise pursue.”

The ACCS boasts that less than 2% of the people who take the required money management course repeat bouncing checks. However, people who have taken the course say they learned little to nothing they didn’t already know.

The article says this is legally allowed, a bill was passed in 2006 that allowed contracts to be made between prosecutors’ offices and debt collecting agencies, thinking it would be a more efficient way “to resolve bad-check cases .”

If you have are dealing with this agency and their tactics, feel free to contact us.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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