Palisades Collection of New Jersey and its law firm Pressler & Pressler are the targets of a class-action lawsuit filed this month in New York. The suit alleges that the collection firm sued thousands of residents there for unpaid AT&T Wireless account debts that the plaintiffs say they never incurred. It collected millions of dollars in default judgments against consumers who failed to show up in court because they were never informed of the litigation against them and who only learned of the judgments years later after their bank accounts were frozen or their wages garnished, or when they hit a snag in their credit. "It became increasingly clear that here was a top-down strategy to seize assets from the most vulnerable New Yorkers without regard to whether a debt was owed or whether they even had the right person," said Diane Lifton, co-counsel for the plaintiffs. Palisades denies any wrongdoing, but 96 grievances have been filed with the state Department of Consumer Affairs against the debt collector since 2004; and the company also has been named in nearly 600 federal lawsuits since 2005.
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