Friday, February 15, 2008

NJ Woman Sues Afni, Inc. for False Credit Reporting Threats

The Law Office of Dimitrios Kolovos, LLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of a New Jersey consumer against Afni, Inc., a debt collector based in Bloomington, Illinois alleging that it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Complaint alleges that Afni falsely threatened to report a debt belonging to the consumer to the credit reporting agencies if it was not paid; it was filed in the federal court for New Jersey on January 31, 2008.

According to the Complaint, Afni contacted the consumer to collect on an old telephone bill from another state. The consumer believed she lived at the address in question approximately eight years ago. However, since the alleged debt is so old, the consumer is unable to determine if any money is even owed.

When Afni attempted to collect on the debt eight years later, the Complaint alleges that Afni’s debt collector told the consumer over the phone that if she did not pay the debt, Afni would report it to the credit reporting agencies. Since very old debts that are delinquent cannot be reported by the credit reporting agencies, the Complaint alleges that Afni made a false threat.

"Making false threats," says the consumer's attorney, Joseph A. Mullaney, III of the Law Office of Dimitrios Kolovos in Voorhees, NJ, "is unlawful under the FDCPA." He adds, "Threats issued by debt collectors must be both 1) permitted by law, and 2) actually intended to be carried out to comply with the FDCPA." In this action, the consumer alleges that Afni falsely threatened to report a very old debt that, if reported, would not comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, another federal consumer protection statute.
At this time, “No court has found Afni, Inc. responsible for violating the consumer’s rights pending the outcome of the litigation,” Mullaney said.

If you believe Afni, Inc. or any other debt collector has violated your debt collection rights, visit www.ConsumerLitigators.com for a free case evaluation by one of the consumer rights attorneys with the Law Office of Dimitrios Kolovos, LLC.
Nothing stated herein may be construed nor is it intended to be legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Today is 2/25/2008 and I have just received a bill from Afni stating I owe on an old Verizon account; in the amount of $90.86 and that they will settle for $45.43. The account number they claim is for a Verizon phone number.
This is very interesting because I have never had Verizon.
I have never had this bill show up on any past credit reports in the past 10 years or ever as far as I can find out. So I checked my credit current reports and found them listing that I owe them. Of course I dispute this and put a fraud alert on my credit reports. Then I did my research:
I also paid for a search on the phone number they listed and I am not connected to that number. I called Verizon California Inc. and spoke to Eric, he said that it wasn't even a Verizon number and they had no records of me on any account!
I visited Budd Hibbs and Rip off report on the WWW only to find out that this agency was scamming me.
I filed complaints with the FTC, U.S. Postal fraud, the IL. BBB, Cal. and IL. State Attorney Generals, consumer affairs and mailed out $30.00 worth of certified letters to AFNI, INC. and their CEO’s asking for validity or to stop and desist. Plus I am posting this on as many sites as I can find to let everyone know about this scam from AFNI, INC.
I am really upset about this bogus claim on my credit report and have never had the phone number they claim I had, nor have I ever had a Verizon account. I owe nothing to Verizon or these people and I am not giving them one red cent.If they sell this worthless paper to another company I will sue.
I want an apology from Afni, Inc on their letter head signed by their owners and managers; and I want them off my credit report as well as print outs at their expense of the corrected credit reports.
What gives them the right to steal my identity and make up a bogus bill?
How many more California people have been scammed by this outfit?
Someone needs to shut these type of rip off artists down and fine them big time.

Anonymous said...

Today, 3/1/08, I recievd a "settlement offer" from Afni,Inc, for a Cingular account for $171.93. NEVER had an account with Cingular?!?!?! Won't be paying and will be sending them cease and desist letter! CROOKS!

Anonymous said...

I HAVE BEEN FIGHTING AFNI AND VERIZON FOR 10 YEARS ON A DEBT.NOW THAT I CONTACTED BBB,FTC,ATTORNEY GENERAER IN PA AND IL,AFNI AND VERIZON TRYED TO CHANGE THE PHONE NUMBER ON THIS ACCOUNT FOR 122 I DONT EVEN OWE VERIZON THIS MONEY.I SENT AFNI A LETTER STATEING THE SEASE AND DESIST AND VALIDATE THIS DEBT THEY ARE STILL REFUSEING TO VALIDATE THIS DEBT ITS BEEN TWO MONTHS NOW AND STILL NOTHING FROM THEM AND YET I CHECKED MY CREDIT REPORTS AND STILL IT REMAIMS IN THERE AND I ALSO STATED TO THEM IF THIS IS NOT REMOVED I WILL FIND A ATTORNEY.THEY HAVE 4 ACCOUNTS WITH ME FROM VERIZON THAT ARE WAY OVER 10 YEARS OLD THAT THEY KEEP DAMAGING MY CREDIT FOR 10 YEARS.THE EXPERIAN,TRANSUNION,EQUIFAX I SENT IN A REQUEST FOR IT TO BE REMOVED DUE TO THE FACT THEY CAN NOT AND WILL NOT VALIDATE THIS DEBT WITH ME THEY TOLD ME AS LONG AS THEY VALIDATE WITH US IT WILL REMAIN.I HAVE TRYED EVERY THING TO GET THIS OFF MY CREDIT AND NOW I HAVE TO TAKE A STAND I NEED A ATTORNEY TO HELP ME FIGHT THIS. THEY WONT STOP DAMAGEING MY CREDIT AND MY NEXT STEP IS TO CONTACT SOCIAL SECURITY ABOUT A DIFFERENT NYMBER OR GET A ATTORNEY IF YOU NO OF ONE THAT IS WILLING TO FIGHT AFNI PLEASE HELP ME

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem as you. I dont know if you could get something accomplished since, but I definatly will file small claims.

Anonymous said...

Chris Hoofnagle's analysis of FTC id theft reports for 2006 found AFNI ahead of all other debt collectors, and among the top 25 companies identified by consumers in connection with id theft, along with banks, retailers, and telecom companies. He assumed it was reporting error by consumers, but hundreds of consumer complaints indicate AFNI is deliberately billing people who never opened accounts just because they have similar names, and in many cases even obtaining their SSN and other info to use to convince them to pay.

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/institutes/bclt/about/about_news_02-28-08.htm
"...
Major retailers - including Target, Sears, Wal-Mart, Dell Computer and Macy's - also were in the top 25. And there was a collections agency, AFNI, which Hoofnagle said shouldn't have been named.

If consumers get a call from a collections agency, he said, "they list it as the entity where the identity was stolen." When you ask them who stole their data, "they write Visa."
...'

Anonymous said...

Version 2.0 of Chis Hoofnagle's analysis of FTC id theft complaints includes data from 3 months in 2007. Verizon and ANFI are now the number 1 and 2 companies reported in association with FTC id theft complaints in 2007, surpassing all the banks.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1152082

Anonymous said...

AFNI just billed a DOG for an alleged Verizon debt.

http://www.kcra.com/station/
16839043/detail.html#

"$142 Collection Bill Sent To Couple's Dog
70,000 Consumers Complained About Debt Collectors In '07

POSTED: 9:23 pm PDT July 9, 2008
UPDATED: 8:43 pm PDT July 10, 2008


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- More than 70,000 consumers complained about third-party debt collectors in 2007, but one Sacramento couple said they have good reason to bark about the bill they received.

Steve Fanelli received a bill from AFNI collections claiming an Andy Fanelli owes Verizon Online $142.34.

And although Steve Fanelli does indeed live with an Andy Fanelli, there is a small, furry problem with the bill.

Andy Fanelli is Steve Fanelli's dog.
..."

Anonymous said...

AFNI was just sued by the Minnesota Attorney General.

http://www.ag.state.mn.us/Consumer/PressRelease/080715AfniInc.asp

Anonymous said...

Update of Chis Hoofnagle's analysis of FTC id theft complaints, covering 3 month samples from each of 2006, 2007, and 2008. In 2008, Verizon and AFNI dropped together somewhat from 2007, but are still near the top. AFNI stands out as the only debt collector in the top 25 companies associated with FTC "id theft" complaints, way ahead of any others.

http://www.luc.edu/law/activities/publications/
clrdocs/vol21issue2/hoofnagle_bank_safety.pdf

Alex Colvin said...

It is worth noting that, like abusive telecommunication companies, abusive debt recovery companies bank large amounts of cash to pay incoming fines from regulators, etc. I once worked for a scamming telecommunication company and we received hundreds of letters weekly from threatening attornies general and various combatant agencies. The fines were always paid, and were considerd a "buiness expense." I left that world, after being sick to my stomach, and have never retured. I would sooner starve than earn a living being such bottom-feeding scum.