For Immediate Release: November 17, 2015
Consumer Complaint Leads to $76,878.00 in Civil Penalties and Consumer Refunds for Collection Agency
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced today that North Carolina customers of the collection agency Stellar Recovery, Inc. may be eligible for refunds if they paid processing fees to the company when making a payment.
The North Carolina Department of Insurance began investigating Stellar Recovery, Inc. after it discovered in February 2015 that the collection agency's webpage for consumer payments disclosed that the collection agency charges a $9.50 processing fee for payments made online or by telephone. Stellar Recovery, Inc. confirmed that it charged a $9.50 convenience fee to North Carolina residents for each ACH debit and credit card payment made online or by telephone. Stellar Recovery, Inc. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $76,878.00 to resolve allegations that the collection agency committed unfair practices in violation of N.C.G.S. § 58-70-115(2) by collecting convenience fees from consumers.
Stellar Recovery, Inc. does not acknowledge any wrongdoing and denies that it has violated N.C.G.S. § 58-70-1 et seq. Rather than face an administrative hearing, Stellar Recovery, Inc. agreed to pay the $76,878.00 civil penalty and to (1) permanently cease and desist collecting convenience fees or any other fees from North Carolina consumers and (2) promptly and fully reimburse all convenience fees which the collection agencies collected from any North Carolina consumer from Jan. 1, 2012, through April 30, 2015, upon receipt of a written request from the consumer.
Consumers who paid a convenience fee to Stellar Recovery, Inc. during the period Jan. 1, 2012, through April 30, 2015, and who wish to request a refund must send a written request to the following address before Nov. 6, 2016:
Bob B. Peterson
Chief Compliance Officer
Stellar Recovery, Inc.
1327 Highway 2 West
Kalispell, MT 59901
For questions about the refund, contact Bob B. Peterson, Chief Compliance Officer for Stellar Recovery, Inc., at 406-755-9522 Ext. 120 or the North Carolina Department of Insurance at 855-408-1212.