New bill at Capitol would tighten rules for debt collectors


New legislation backed by Minnesota's attorney general would create tougher requirements for debt collection companies operating in the state.

Attorney General Lori Swanson says too many companies that buy debts from creditors have flimsy information about what is owed by whom and sometimes wind up going after the wrong person. The new bill would require companies to show proof that they're suing the right person for the right amount of money when they go to court.

Last month Swanson's office reached an out of court settlement with one of the country's biggest debt buyers, Midland Funding. Swanson says in many of the 15,000 lawsuits Midland filed in Minnesota during a four-year period, the company targeted the wrong people for debt collection.

A higher-profile case came earlier last year, when Swanson took on Accretive Health Services over the tactics it was using to collect hospital bills. That led to a $2.5 million settlement and a ban on Accretive doing business in the state for at least two years.

Next Up

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Wisconsin Republicans aim to end governor's mask mandate

They've introduced a resolution to remove the governor's emergency powers.

Ted Schweich

Community group hopes to install billboard to get neighbor a kidney

A group called "Team Ted" aims to raise $5,000 to find their friend a kidney donor.

Andrew Palmer

Charges: Coach raped teenage girl on Minnesota basketball team

The 33-year-old head coach has been charged in connection to the alleged crimes.

radio station, microphone

WCCO Radio's program director leaves the company

It's not clear why John Hanson and the station parted ways.

Minneapolis skyline

Minneapolis a step closer to banning facial recognition technology

There are concerns about it leading to a surveillance state, and that it could harm disadvantaged communities.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 22

Nearly 50,000 Minnesotans have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

police lights

Police recover more than 14 pounds of meth, 4,000 pills during drug bust

Three people have been arrested and charged in connection to the drugs.

Gopher hockey

Gophers respond to drop in rankings with 10-goal outburst

It had been 17 years since the Gophers last scored 10 goals in a game.


Winter storm watch issued where snow could exceed 6 inches in MN

Snow will spread from west to east starting Saturday morning in western Minnesota.


Lori Swanson: Medical bill collector overly aggressive

Minnesota's Attorney General released an investigative report Tuesday into Accretive Health Inc. It accuses the Chicago-based consultant, who was hired by Fairview Health System, of imposing collection quotas and pressuring hospital employees to collect money from patients before treatment.

Minnesota cracks down on debt collector

The West Central Tribune reports the Commerce Department is ordering a debt collection company to revamp its hiring process after an investigation found the firm was employing felons. NCO Financial Systems operates 49 debt agencies nationwide.

Accretive Health to answer questions on Capitol Hill

Executives from the medical debt collector will be in Washington, D.C. on Friday to address concerns about the companies practices. Last week, Minnesota Attorney General accused the Chicago-based firm of using aggressive collection tactics at Fairview Health Services. Accretive Health has denied any wrong doing.

Bill that would rein in moratoriums on land use returns to Capitol

Limiting the ability of cities and counties to impose moratoriums on land use is an idea that's failed to gain ground in previous sessions. But its sponsor calls it a property rights issue and thinks its time has come. Local governments seem unconvinced.

Debt collector sees shares drop 40 percent after Minnesota A.G.'s report

Shares in Accretive Health plummeted after the company was accused of routinely pressuring patients to pre-pay for services. The debt collection agency is defending its work with hospitals in the wake of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson's investigation.

Minnesota cracks down on 8 debt collectors

The Minnesota Department of Commerce says the violations include hiring felons, harassing costumers who owe money and stealing personal information. The companies face more than $900,000 in fines collectively.