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New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced that his office has reached an agreement with three New York debt collection companies that failed to adequately supervise employees who engaged in deceptive and fraudulent methods to collect debts.

The three companies, Creditors Interchange Receivable Management LLC, Capital Management Services LP and Tri-Financial LLC, have agreed to reform their business practices in order to be in full compliance with the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and New York's Debt Collection Procedures Act, according to a news release. The companies, which are based in Western New York but do business across the country, are also paying $245,000 to the state in penalties and costs.

According to complaints received by Cuomo's Office, collectors at the three companies employed fraudulent tactics in an attempt to collect debts, including contacting alleged debtors without a lawful justification for doing so and after being asked in writing to cease all communication, contacting consumers at their places of employment, discussing consumers' debts with third parties, and falsely claiming that the company was acting on behalf of an attorney and that the company or a creditor was about to commence legal action against the consumer.

Under separate settlements with the attorney general office, the three companies have agreed to enhance their compliance protocols and make it easier for consumers to file complaints against individual collectors. All three companies must create a direct link on their respective Web sites to consumer complaint forms, according to Cuomo's office. The companies must also maintain an employee disciplinary history database, as well as a comprehensive database of all complaints made by consumers or third parties who were wrongly contacted by collectors. Furthermore, each company must pay penalties and costs to the state for the violations.

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