N4T Investigators: Collection agency's problems worsen - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Collection agency's problems worsen

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Tucson - "I'm very pleased to know that the state is taking this seriously, a lot of people have been taken advantage of here. There are a lot of victims." So says Keeley Ambrose, manager of Robbins Chiropractic Center. 

Robbins is one of the Tucson businesses that's used Surety Acceptance Corporation to try to collect clients unpaid bills. Surety had been in business for more than 40 years. But now the News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned it could be put of of business permanently. The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions has filed a notice of hearing and complaint that could revoke Surety's license. 

Ambrose says, "I think their license should be revoked and they should pay for what they've done."

As we first reported a month ago, Surety stopped responding to phone calls in June and laid off its employees. We went to the Surety office on E. Broadway and the door was locked. Then, the Department of Financial Institutions suspended Surety from doing business and fined it $20,000.  The state said Surety:

-"repeatedly failed to disclose...its books and records during the course of its investigation." 

-"failed to deal openly, fairly and honestly in the conduct of the collection agency business with the department."

-"repeatedly failed to cooperate with the department to determine whether...clients are receiving their collected monies due to them or those monies are being misused or misappropriated."

In other words, the state wants to know if Surety collected payments from people who were late on their bills, but did not pass them on to the businesses they collected for. One medical group said in the complaint that surety is withholding $44,000 from it.

We asked Ambrose, "If you could talk to the owners of Surety, what would you say?" She replied, "Thanks for nothing." Ambrose said she "wants some answers to come out. I think they should definitely be put out of business. But they need to make restitution to all of the victims in this. There's a lot of money" outstanding.

Susann Miller of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona says if you have a bill from Surety "Do not pay Surety. Reach out to the actual company themselves, and make arrangement directly with them."

Surety's attorney has not returned our calls. He and the company will have to answer to the Department of Financial Institutions at a hearing on Oct 4, if they want to try to save Surety's license. And about that $20,000 fine imposed on Surety over a month ago, a state spokesman says the collection agency still has not paid its bill.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444. 

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