'Sexual-Scandal Blackmail' Alleged to Collect on Car Loan


Asked by ABC News for comment, Prestige responded by email through the chief counsel for its parent company. His statement reads in part: "Prestige Financial Services has not yet been served with a copy of the complaint and is not in a position to address the merits of the lawsuit. Prestige does not comment on pending litigation."

Complicating things for Pillow is the fact that that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to original lenders, only to collection companies and to buyers of bad debt. Since Prestige was the original lender, Pillow cannot sue under federal law and must go a different route. Hence Boyd's suit for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Might federal law someday be amended to include original lenders?

It's not impossible, says West Virginia assistant attorney general Norman Googel. West Virginia has been among the states most aggressive in prosecuting debt-collection abuse.

"Back when the act was passed," says Googel, "Congress was of the view that it was the collection agencies that were dominating most of the abuses." Now, he thinks, that may no longer be so true.

But any attempt by Congress to apply the law to original lenders, he says, would meet bitter opposition from banks and credit card companies: "The big banks would fight a hell of a battle. They would fight like mad dogs."

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