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N.J., Pa. settle with Encore Capital over alleged deceptive debt collection practices

Encore agreed to a $6M settlement in cases involving alleged deceptive debt collection and litigation practices.

Encore Capital Group, one of the largest debt buyers in the country, agreed to pay $6 million to settle allegations brought by 42 states and territories, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, that it engaged in deceptive debt collection and litigation practices, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday.

The San Diego-based company was accused of filing affidavits in court claiming consumers owed debts without verifying the information, a practice commonly known as “robo-signing.” Lawsuits based on robo-signed documents often target those can’t afford an attorney, and can result in “fear-driven payoffs” or default judgments based on unverified information.

In addition to the $6 million paid to states, Encore must provide eligible consumers a credit of up to $1,850 toward their judgement balances. More than 1,000 New Jerseyeans and 150 Pennsylvanians are expected to receive a reduction or elimination of their debts as a result of the settlement.