Debt collector charged fees and interest illegal in W.Va., says AG

Debt collector charged fees and interest illegal in W.Va., says AG
Debt collector charged fees and interest illegal in W.Va., says AG

West Virginia's attorney general's office is suing a Washington state debt collector for charging consumers fees and interest -- in one case turning a $48.75 debt into an almost $300 bill.

West Virginia doesn't allow companies to add fees, Assistant Attorney General Norman Googel told Consumer Ally, except for education loans that already disclose them in contracts. "We have an almost total ban on fees," he said, though rules vary from state to state as to whether collection agencies can allow them if they are part of a contract.

The lawsuit contends Seattle Service Bureau Inc., which does business as National Service Bureau, tacked on interest and fees to the debts it was trying to collect. The suit says the company is unlicensed in West Virginia and also allegedly threatens consumers with legal action if they don't pay up. Also named in the lawsuit are the company's officers and main shareholders, David B. Conyers and Candace J. Conyers.

When Consumer Ally contacted National Service Bureau for comment, the woman who answered its phone said, "nope. No thanks. Sorry. Bye bye," and hung up.