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Need proof of a problematic debt collector? Here's a story for you

Here's a story about a dominant actor in the debt collection business that has been giving consumers angst and major headaches for years.

Many people have suffered great consternation dealing with the entity even at the very outset of their unwanted relationship with it, owing to the fact that even identifying the company seems an insuperably difficult task.

Its moniker is Syndicated Office Systems, which, concededly, is not an overly difficult name to remember. However, the company actually conducts business under the name of Central Financial Control (CFC), with that entity being, in turn, an "indirect" subsidiary of yet another company called Conifer Health Solutions.

There's more, given that Conifer is itself an operative arm of Tenet Healthcare, which some readers might recognize as being one of the country's largest hospital operators.

In referring to such complex associations, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau notes "the challenges many consumers already face who are attempting to navigate the medical debt maze."

Yet navigate they must, because (let's just go with this entity) the actions and conduct of CFC have placed them in dire straits as they seek to challenge or otherwise respond to collection demands.

Here's the problem, which has been termed "egregious" by CFPB Director Richard Cordray: Reportedly, CFC has for many years violated federal laws by not timely responding to consumers challenging debts claimed to be owed. Applicable law mandates a company response to a consumer challenge within 30 days; CFC has in many thousands of cases taken more than a year.

It is not hard to envision the tremendously adverse fallout that can result for a consumer who is on the receiving end of such tardiness.

Given the CFPB's strong language, many readers might reasonably find the response from CFC to be flatly amazing. A company spokesperson recently stated that federal regulators "found no unfair … collection practices" pursuant to their investigation.

To settle the claims against it, Syndicated Office Systems will refund affected customers $5 million.

For obvious reasons that the Times notes, consumers "should check their credit reports regularly."

And when they confront errors, undue time delays and other problems, they might reasonably want to contact a proven debt relief attorney to act aggressively and with dispatch on their behalf.

Source: credit.com, "Debt collector left consumers hanging on medical bill disputes, says CFPB," Bob Sullivan, June 22, 2015

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