More Complaints Against Rockford Based CAMCO
Posted 4/30/04 12:45 a.m.
Updated 4/30/04 8:25 a.m.
by Steve Stadelman - WTVO News
In March, WTVO told you about a Rockford-based company that federal regulators said went too far in trying to collect debts.
Capital Acquisitions and Management Company- or CAMCO -buys unpaid debt, and then tries to get people who supposedly owe the money to pay them.
People from across the country have contacted WTVO claiming CAMCO continues to try collecting debts that are not even owed or debts that are too old to collect. And they say they were threatened over the phone.
"CAMCO is up to the same old tricks," writes a Texas man.
"The company has not stopped their unethical business practices," states a California woman.
Last week, David Geliebter received a letter from CAMCO stating he owed more than $2,500 from a 15-year-old bank account. He's not sure he even owes the money. Besides, he says, the state he lives in has a statue of limitation of six years which would make the debt uncollectable.
From his home in New Jersey, Geliebter talked to WTVO by phone.
"I don't know what this is. If I owed money that's one thing, but I don't know what this is. Of course, they don't explain it to you. They just kind of cut you off," says Geliebter.
These type of complaints led to a settlement in March between CAMCO and the Federal Trade Commission.
CAMCO did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to a $300,000 fine and the company promised to do more to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.
A CAMCO spokesman told WTVO Thursday the settlement was "a business decision" to avoid a more costly penalty. And he denied the company intentionally tries to collect non-existing debt.
The head of the the company's Compliance Department, Jeff Garrington, tells WTVO "It's not a glamourous business. You're asking people to pay their bills. The first thing they do is retreat."
The company also says it can collect debts that are older than most states' statue of limitations, a claim Geliebter's attorney and the FTC says is not entirely true. A spokesman for the FTC says the company can try to collect the debt but "most of the debts are unenforceable in court and are so old that they're beyond the reporting periods allowed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. CAMCO can't sue or threaten to sue to collect debts past the statue of limitations."
Geliebter also disputes the CAMCO'S insistance that it doesn't harrass and threaten consumers.
"It's one of their tactics," says Geliebter. "I was told if I were a man I'd take care of my obligation. I'm sure they have all kinds of ways to abuse people and harrass them."
Garrington says CAMCO does follow up on any consumer complaints and adds the company has fired employees for wrongdoing.
"It does us no good to be rude on the phone," Garrington told WTVO.
Geliebter believes otherwise.
"I think a lot of people are afraid to have to deal with people like this. Their credit is going to be ruined. They're going to be harrassed at work," says Geliebter. "Whatever happened with the FTC hasn't really slowed them down that much."
Geliebter says he's filed a complaint with the FTC, which told WTVO it continues to monitor the company.