The collection agency Convergent Outsourcing, Inc paid $355,000 to be divided among the consumers pro rata in proportion to the respective amounts paid by each consumer. Additionally, Convergent paid $1,320,000 to the Attorney General's Office. The money will be used to increase the restitution payments to consumers, cover the costs of the investigation, and fund the continued work of the office’s Consumer Protection Division.
The resolution will provide restitution to consumers for Convergent Outsourcing, Inc.'s violations. Those alleged violations include:
- Convergent acted unfairly and/or deceptively under the Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in trade or commerce that affect the public interest (RCW 19.86.020) when it sent letters to consumers in Washington and other states offering to "settle" time-barred debts without disclosing that the debts were legally unenforceable.
- By sending these letters to Washington consumers offering to "settle" time-bred debts and impliedly threatening that consumers could be sued if they did not pay, Convergent also violated the Collection Agency Act (RCW 19.16), which prohibits Washington-licensed collection agencies from threatening to take actions they cannot legally take.
The resolution also requires Convergent Outsourcing, Inc. to permanently refrain from sending collection letters that use the term "settle" or "settlement" in offering to resolve time-barred debts without disclosing that the statute of limitations has expired. The agreement requires the company to disclose the statute of limitations to sue on the debt has passed.