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Most people do not like debt collectors. And one Georgia collector not only got on the bad side of consumers, but also the law.

An Atlanta-area debt collector has been ordered by the Georgia Consumer Protection Office to cease operating and to stay out of the business for five years. This decision came after there were countless consumer complaints about the way the company practices as well as its alleged use of illegal debt-collection techniques, reports Daily Report.

Not only does Earnest Earvin IV, owner of Zenith Financial Group, have to stop business, he will also subject to a $460,000 penalty if he violates the agreement. Under the agreement, Earvin and Zenith will no longer attempt to collect on more than $3.1 million in supposed debts, but he must pay $15,000 in penalties. An additional $445,000 will become immediately due if Earvin violates the agreement, reports Yahoo.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) received complaints charging that company would call consumers and threaten them with arrest, criminal charges, and even physical violence if they don’t make good on their debts. Additional complaints include Zenith’s attempts to collect debts that had already been paid, calling debtors at all hours, and pursuing old debts on which the statute of limitations had expired. Thirty-three complaints were filed and resolved during the past three years. Zenith Financial Group received an F rating with the BBB.

If a debt collector contacts you by phone, have them send the information in writing. Don’t take any action to repay until you have received this in the mail. Make sure it is a debt that you owe and call the BBB and check to make sure the collector is legit. Keep track of your debts by getting frequent credit reports.

If you think you are dealing with a unscrupulous debt collector, contact the BBB and also familiarize yourself with your consumer rights.

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