http://www.consumerlitigators.com/1627/consumer-news/debt-collectors-reported-most-by-consumers-ftc-says/January 15, 2012
byJoseph Mullaneyon December 6, 2011 ·0 comments
For the last known year, 2010 was the worst year for consumers dealingwith debt collection agencies. According to the Federal TradeCommission (FTC), complaints about
are up 25% since2008. There were about 104,000 complaints in 2008 and about 140,000in 2010. All the while, debt collectors are aggressively lobbying Congressto weaken the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).Normally, the FTC does nothing actively to combat unfair debt collection. Itdoes take complaints from consumers and file an annual report mandatedby the FDCPA. It might file the occasional lawsuit against a really, reallybad debt collector. But on par, the FTC is mostly concerned about other consumer areas.Recently, the FTC has touted 10 lawsuits against debt collectors it filed in the last 3 years. That is abig jump, statistically, from the only 6 lawsuits it filed in the 3-year period prior. But, the FTC’sdearth of lawsuits no matter what year is counted is perplexing and has irked Consumer Rights Attorneys.Tom Pahl, an assistant director with the FTC, said “We receive more complaints about the debtcollection industry than any other industry; the conduct of debt collectors is a major consumer protection problem.” The FTC believes it is doing its part by filing the above 10 lawsuits.The FTC lawsuits did target very egregious debt collection actions. Take for instance an elderlywoman who incurred funeral bills burying her two sons. A collection agency then relentlesslypursued her despite the 72-year-old’s missing leg and a $694/month disability check.Pahl, commenting on the case, said “In hard times, people have a harder time paying, and debtcollectors have to work harder to go after them; some debt collectors cross the line into violation of the law.” He qualified his comment with
some debt collectors
while sitting on a pile of 140,000complaints about them.In another FTC lawsuit, a debt collector was sued for calling consumer debtors: “deadbeat,” “whitetrash,” “cracker head” and “scumbag.” A court-appointed receiver has already seized that companythough it is fightingthe charges.Still, another debt collection agency, West Asset Management of Marietta, Ga., was accused of allowing its employees to withdraw money fraudulently from consumers’ bank accounts or addedfalse charges to their credit cards. Although it did not admit to wr ongdoing, its agreement to pay a$2.8 million fine, the largest in recent memory, speaks volumes.While the FTC could only muster enough gumption to file a measly 10 lawsuits, all eyes gaze uponthe new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is hoped to be far more aggressive in goingafter debt collectors who violate the FDCPA. However, without an agency head, it is flounderingwhile Congress dithers.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey consumers who believe their fair debt collection rightshave been violated are invited to click here for a no-obligation assessment of their consumer law matter.
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