Debt Collectors Still Number One Consumer Complaint, FTC Tells Congress

debt collectorsThe Federal Trade Commission received more than 140,000 complaints about debt collectors in 2010, more than any other industry, the agency announced in an annual report to Congress.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits unfair, deceptive, and abusive debt collection practices, and requires the FTC to submit annual reports to Congress discussing the agency's administration of the FDCPA.The FTC's 33rd. annual FDCPA report outlines the agency's legal and educational efforts to protect consumers from predatory debt collectors as they struggle to pay bills in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

The report also describes:
  • The FTC's investigation of the debt buying industry.
  • The agency's development of new rules governing collecting debts from the deceased.
  • A forthcoming workshop on the consumer protection implications arising from high-tech debt-collection tactics.
The report notes changes to the administration of the FDCPA due to passage of the Consumer Protection Act by Congress last year.

As in recent years, consumers complained to the FTC about debt collectors more than any other industry. The FTC received 140,036 debt collection complaints in 2010, compared to 119,609 complaints in 2009.

The top three categories of complaints about third-party debt collectors were:
  • Repeated or continuous calls.
  • Misrepresenting the character, amount, or status of the debt (including demanding a larger payment than is permitted by law).
  • Failing to send consumers written notice about the debt and their rights.
Here's what to do if you get a call from a debt collector trying to track down your family.

Here's more from us on how to deal with phony debt collection calls.

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