Owner Resource Group is a private investment firm located in Austin, Texas. In 2016 the company acquired GC Services, one of the country’s oldest and largest providers of call centers and debt collection services. The collection agency collects for a wide range of businesses and government entities, including utility companies, credit cards, retailers, and mortgage companies. It has been in business since 1957 and has more than 20 locations and 8,000 employees.
Since GC Services’ purchase by Owner Resource Group, it has had a handful of lawsuits filed against it for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal law enacted by Congress in 1977 to help protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive collection practices. Consumers have also filed several complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Complaints Against Owner Resource Group’s GC Services
Since Owner Resource Group’s purchase of GC Services, the collection agency has had over a dozen complaints filed against it with the BBB and CFPB. These complaints allege that the debt collector violated the FDCPA:
- Continued to contact a consumer after being asked in writing to stop
- Failed to provide consumers with debt validation information
- Reported false information to the credit reporting agencies
- Contacted third parties about a consumers debt
- Continued contacting consumers after being told repeatedly they had the wrong person
- Contacted consumers at work when they knew the employer did not allow that type of call
- Attempted to collect fees not authorized by the original contract
Many of the complaints also allege that the debt collector refused to honor payment arrangement agreements and failed to report accounts as disputed on consumers’ credit reports.
Law Suits Against Owner Resource Group’s GC Services
In October of 2016, both GC Services and Owner Resource Group were sued by an Indiana resident for falsely informing her in a collection letter that a dispute of the debt must be in writing, when an oral dispute is valid under the FDCPA. In June of 2017, the court found that the law “plainly does not impose a writing requirement” when disputing a debt. The lawsuit was certified as a class action suit by the court in July of 2017 and has not yet been concluded.
In 2017 a complaint was filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in federal court in the Southern District of Texas. The FTC alleged that GC Services left voicemail message that disclosed information about consumers’ student loan debts to third parties and called consumers multiple times after being told they had the wrong person or the wrong number. The collection agency settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $700,000 in civil penalties.
Another lawsuit against GC Services was filed in Michigan in 2018, alleging that the debt collection agency violated the FDCPA in its attempts to collect on debts owed to the Michigan Treasury Department for back taxes. The letters contained the state of Michigan seal, a state of Michigan email address, and included a physical address is in Lansing, although the company is located in Texas. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector cannot falsely imply that is it affiliated with any government agency, which the letters clearly did. The complaint also alleges that the debt collection agency’s letters demanded payment within 10 days and threatened to levy consumers’ property and/or garnish their wages if payment was not received. The lawsuit has not yet been settled.
In December of 2018, a proposed class action lawsuit was filed in Texas alleging that GC Services’ failed to disclose in a collection notice that the consumer’s American Express debt was incurring interest and fees. The complaint says that this is an unfair, deceptive, misleading, and unconscionable way to collect on a debt and caused the Plaintiff to be unable to prioritize paying her debts properly, causing her damage. The suit is still ongoing and no settlement agreement has been filed or decision issued.
If Owner Resource Group or GC Services is using any unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices in order to collect a debt from you, it is time to hold them accountable for their actions. Please contact our office for a free, no obligation case review at 1-800-219-3577.