Topco Financial Services Inc., an Everett, Wash., collection agency, has settled a lawsuit brought by state Attorney General Rob McKenna's office by agreeing not to threaten, harass or curse at consumers.

Among other things, the settlement said Topco must not threaten debtors with impairment of their credit rating or imply that failure to pay a debt will result in a revocation, suspension or impairment of the debtor's driver's license. Topco also agreed to pay $5,000 in civil penalties and $33,000 in attorneys' fees and legal costs. An additional $70,000 in civil penalties and $12,000 in fees and costs were suspended, provided that Topco complies with the settlement.

McKenna's office sued Topco nearly a year ago, accusing it of violating the state's Consumer Protection Act. The complaint alleged that Topco representatives used profanity, called debtors names and threatened to take action beyond its legal authority.

The state, as part of a settlement filed last month in Snohomish County Superior Court, agreed to dismiss civil charges against individuals.

The agreement contains no finding or admission of wrongdoing.

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