The Attorney General’s lawsuit accuses the operators of Rotech Holdings Ltd., doing business as RH Group, of violating state and federal debt collection laws.
More than 30 Ohioans from across the state have complained about the company to state or federal agencies, but additional consumers likely have been affected.
“In this case, we found a pattern of abusive debt collection practices and a collector who doesn’t seem to want to change,” DeWine said. “We want to protect Ohioans from being ripped off and put an end to violations of state or federal consumer protection laws.”
In their complaints, consumers generally said that the company:
• Used abusive or profane language when talking to them on the phone;
• Threatened them with civil legal actions or jail time;
• Harassed their employers, co-workers, or family members; or
• Called them repeatedly even after they told company employees that they did not owe the alleged debt.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed Friday in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, accuses defendants Rotech Holdings Ltd., doing business as RH Group, and the two brothers who run the collection agency, Sean M. Lista and Glenn R. Lista, of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Attorney General seeks an injunction to stop violations, damages for affected consumers, and civil penalties.
A copy of the RH Group lawsuit is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.
Nationally, the lawsuit is part of an enforcement sweep called “Operation Collection Protection,” organized by the Federal Trade Commission and including more than 70 agencies and 115 enforcement actions filed nationwide in 2015 involving alleged illegal debt collection practices.
As part of the coordinated effort, the coalition of federal, state, and local enforcement agencies shared complaints, investigative information, and best practices to stop illegal debt collection practices, resulting in an unprecedented collection of enforcement actions.
Also included in the sweep is a July 2015 multistate credit-card collections settlement with Chase Bank, which Attorney General DeWine’s office helped negotiate, and two lawsuits filed by DeWine’s office earlier in 2015 for illegal debt collection practices – one against Nationwide Recovery Group and one against Universal Debt & Payment Solutions LLC, both of which are pending.
Additional information about Operation Collection Protection, including a full list of enforcement actions, will be available on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.