Consumers have filed over 69,000 complaints against scummy debt collectors for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, prompting the FTC to rush to our collective defense by taking action against three debt collectors who showed a “culture of harassing the debtors from which they collect.” Two debt collectors settled and one went to court. Still, when you receive over 69,000 complaints—and these are from the people who know to complain to the FTC—it’s reasonable to assume that more than three collectors encourage a culture of harassment. More harrowing revelations from the FTC’s annual report to Congress, after the jump.
- 40.3%, 27,929 consumers, complained of debt collectors attempting to collect more than they were owed
- 3.4%, 2,387 consumers, complained that collectors were attempting to collect interest, fees, or expenses that were not owed, such as collection fees, late fees and court costs
- 21.2% or 14,656 consumers complained of harassment from repeated or continuous calls
- 22.1% or 15,314 consumers complained of debt collectors making calls to employers, friends and family repeatedly in an attempt to allegedly gather information to assist them in collecting the debt
- 11.5% of the FDCPA complaints or 7,967 consumers complained of being harassed with collectors using obscene, profane or otherwise abusive language
- 11.4% or 7,913 consumers complained that they were threatened with a lawsuit or some other legal action that the debt collector could not or did not intend to take, such as seizure of property or arrest.
Congress requires the FTC to furnish a new report every year. Hopefully when they report back in March, the new FTC data will reassure us that they are protecting our rights and cracking down on violators. Until then, keep reporting FDCPA violations to the FTC at: 1-877-FTC-HELP.
FTC publishes its Annual Report on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [Alabama Consumer Law Blog]
Federal Trade Commission Annual Report 2007: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (PDF) [FTC]