Following lawsuits filed against it this month by the Federal Trade Commission and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Consumer Collection Advocates Corp. (CCA) and its principal agreed to suspend operations in Florida, pending the outcome of the litigation.
According to the complaints by the FTC and the Florida Attorney General, CCA contracted with fraud victims, guaranteeing to recover the victims’ money in return for payments and a percentage of any recovery. The regulators alleged that the company often failed to keep those promises.
The regulators claimed CCA’s alleged misrepresentations violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act, the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Florida Telemarketing Act, and sought injunctive relief to stop the business from operating in violation of these laws.
The FTC and Florida Attorney General sought injunctive relief prohibiting the defendants from taking up-front payments from consumers seeking to recover lost funds, misrepresenting the services offered by CCA, and misrepresenting any affiliation with government entities.
The Florida Attorney General cited as a reason for bringing the lawsuit the 115 consumer complaints about the company received by the Attorney General’s office, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, and the Better Business Bureau.
The case underscores how important it is for businesses to closely monitor and respond to consumer complaints made to governmental and quasi-governmental enforcement entities. The case also provides another example of state and federal regulatory entities working together to enforce consumer protection laws.