Highlights from the FTC's 2011 report on the FDCPA
The Federal Trade Commission issued its 33rd annual report that describes the FTC’s efforts to protect consumers from abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices.
The report is issued annually, which is requirement of the federal law that governs debt collecting, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
The FTC received more complaints in 2010 about debt collection than about any other single industry. According to the report, the FTC “received 140,036 debt collection complaints.” This is an increase from just under 120,000 complaints about debt collection in 2009.
The three largest types of complaints about third-party debt collectors were:
- calling repeatedly or continuously;
- misrepresenting the character, amount, or status of the debt (including demanding a larger payment than is permitted by law); and
- failing to send consumers a statutorily required written notice about the debt and their rights."
The annual report also reviewed the FTC’s debt-collection law enforcement actions, consumer and industry education efforts, and research and policy initiatives. In addition, the report describes “an industry-wide investigation that the Commission is conducting of the debt buying industry; a developing enforcement policy on collecting the debts of deceased persons; and an upcoming workshop on the consumer protection impacts of advancing technologies employed in debt collection.”
Lastly, the report discussed how the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act empowers a new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB,) to issue new rules under the FDCPA that govern the debt collection practices. Both the FTC and CFPB will have enforcement powers, but the reporting to Congress will be carried out by the CFPB.