CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has filed a lawsuit asking the court to prevent a New York-based collection agency from doing business in Mountain State, according to a press release.
The attorney general’s complaint, filed Thursday in Mingo County Circuit Court, alleges that Bayside Capital Services, LLC, and its owner, John Max Werth, engaged in debt collection activity without proper authorization and using illegal and pressured tactics.
“Illegal debt collection activities exacerbate the stress faced by consumers,” said Morrisey. “Our office will ensure that anyone collecting debts in West Virginia is duly authorized and operating in accordance with state law.”
The lawsuit alleges Bayside contacted consumers at their workplaces and threatened to arrest those who did not pay.
The lawsuit stems from a complaint from a Mason County consumer. Further investigation revealed similar allegations in Nicholas, Randolph and Mingo counties.
The lawsuit alleges that Bayside revealed that it collected payments on 12 accounts from consumers residing in Cabell, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marshall, Mason, Mingo, Nicholas, Randolph, Wayne and Wood counties. The company did not disclose the number of people contacted without collection success.
The lawsuit further alleges that Bayside failed to notify consumers of their right to dispute debts within five days of the first debt collection contact, demanded full payment before the expiration of the 30-day period, and has demanded payment without any proof of the alleged debt.
The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $ 5,000 for each alleged violation of West Virginia’s credit and consumer protection law, restitution and a court order prohibiting Bayside from collecting debts in Virginia -Western.