Debt collector to return $475K to Washington consumers

SEATTLE (AP) — A Denver-based collection agency must return about $475,000 it collected improperly from up to 5,000 Washington consumers after state Attorney General Bob Ferguson prevailed in a lawsuit alleging unlawful debt-collection practices. The Seattle Times reports Ferguson’s office says Machol & Johannes must also forgive as much as $250,000 in fees and costs for hundreds of people, and pay $414,000 to the attorney general’s office to cover the costs of the investigation. Ferguson filed the lawsuit in King County Superior Court in 2020 after a judge notified his office that the company had filed improper wage-garnishment applications. Machol & Johannes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.