Northern Leasing Systems Inc. (NLSI) has also infected the UK.
Here they go by the name of, Forrester UK Holdings LLC. But this is just a fig leaf that enables them to trade in Britain and a useful screen that conceals their true identity from the people they target.
NLSI began their operations here after buying out the UK leasing interests of Phoenix-based Hypercom Corp, in June, 2006.
NLSI acquired as part of the deal the confidential personal and banking data of Lloyds TSB bank customers from across the UK.
Lloyds sold people their ‘Hypercom EMEA’ leasing contracts before June 2006 so they could take money off customers using the bank’s ‘Cardnet’ system.
The bank, now part of Lloyds Banking Group, continues to promote leasing facilities via its website and telesales that are leading to yet more small businesses’ personal and banking data being handed to NLSI.
Allegations are now emerging from companies across the country citing harassment from NLSI in pursuit of money the victims say is not owed.
As in the United States, problems begin when terminal lessees attempt to cancel their contracts with NLSI.
There follows the most appalling campaign of harassing and abusive telephone calls, day and night, from NLSI’s building, on West 31st Street, New York.
Faxes and letters follow by the dozen, demanding spurious sums and threatening all kinds of court action, penalties and ruin. All correspondence sent in response to NLSI by the victims is ignored.
NLSI then commissions UK-based debt collectors to pressure people into parting with the supposedly owed money. Allegations of harassment, bullying and misrepresentation against the UK debt collectors are now also rife.
Up until now the UK authorities have refused to act over what on the face of it is clearly extortion.
However, a class action in the New York courts looks set to break the dam. Attorney Krishnan Chittur, successfully argued that NSLI’s senior named managers acting in the US were guilty of systematic fraud and deception and that this activity was the ‘mainstay’ of their business.
These allegations, already underway in the New York Court of Appeal in 2004, were upheld in the Supreme Court in New York, in 2008.
Thanks to Mr. Chittur, when NLSI bought their UK leasing interests, allegations of their alleged criminal misconduct were already a matter of court record and in the public domain.
It therefore seems impossible that Lloyds TSB were unaware of the jeopardy in which their customers were being placed when NLSI acquired their leases and their confidential data.
We have certain proof that the bank knew in 2007 what was going on. And it is the case that Lloyds TSB continues to promote NLSI’s services.
It is also a fact that Lloyds Banking Group refuses point blank to warn any of its customers that their data has fallen, and continues to fall, into the hands of alleged US fraudsters.
Seemingly unrelated to any of this, the UK utility, ‘British Gas Trading Limited’, was last year found guilty on Appeal to the British High Court of Justice, of harassment against its customer, Ms. Lisa Maria Angela Ferguson.
British Gas claimed they had done nothing wrong since it was an automated device that kept sending threatening letters to Ms. Ferguson in pursuit of money she did not owe.
The judges rules otherwise.
The case set a precedent that has made NLSI’s (Forrester UK Holdings LLC) position utterly untenable. Its UK debt collectors have become equally vulnerable.
The coincidence of Mr. Chittur’s excellent work compounds NLSI’s woes by identifying them for what they allegedly are: crooks on a massive scale.
Authorities in the UK charged with upholding The Data Protection Act, who have hitherto chosen to ignore NLSI’s activities, could not continue to do so if sufficient numbers of NLSI’s victims lodged complaints.
And those charged with upholding The Protection From Harassment Act must now per force take heed of the findings in the case of Ms. Ferguson.
Lloyds Banking Group’s CEO should hang his head in shame and pray the general public does not become aware of his part in this. Indeed, an action against the bank has not been ruled out.
All those in the US suffering at the hands of NLSI should seek attachment to Mr. Chittur’s class action.
Any in the US or UK who wish an end to NLSI’s harassment and preying on small businesses should send their comments and support to firstname.lastname@example.org where journalists are working on resolving this issue once and for all.
(Chittur & Associates, P.C.) 286 Madison Avenue Suite 1100
New York, New York 10017. Tel: (212) 370-0447.
e-mail: "Krishnan Chittur, Esq"