Ohio fees for debt collection questioned

Consumers are being charged excessive fees — fees intended to cover the debt-collection costs of government hired special counsel advocates say.

News Story (Ohio)

Ben Sutherly
Columbus Dispatch
September 27, 2015

Tags: Debt Collection

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society of Columbus


When a public university can’t collect overdue tuition from a former student, Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center can’t get a patient to pay medical bills, or a municipal ambulance service has an unreimbursed run, it eventually falls to the Ohio attorney general’s office to go after the debtors.

Officials with the attorney general’s collections-enforcement section say they’re pursuing about $34 billion in government debt owed by consumers and corporations.

That’s a lot of money, and it’s one of the reasons the attorney general’s office says it outsources debt collection to about 70 outside lawyers, called “special counsel,” and half a dozen third-party vendors.


“The fees added on by the attorney general’s office are very, very high,” said Scott Torguson, a Columbus Legal Aid attorney who has represented several people in court who owe government debt.