FTC Combats Record Number of Debt Collection Cases

Over the past year, the Federal Trade Commission said it has brought or resolved seven debt collection cases affecting hundreds of thousands of consumers, the highest number of such cases the agency has taken on during a single year.
The FTC said it has stepped up enforcement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by cracking down on collectors who used abusive or misleading tactics to intimidate consumers.
The agency sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau detailing its actions.
Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, the CFPB is required to submit annual reports to Congress on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a task previously assigned to the FTC.
In two cases that included civil penalties, the FTC obtained $2.8 million and $2.5 million, respectively, from West Asset Management, Inc., and Asset Acceptance, LLC, the two largest civil penalty amounts the agency has ever obtained for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The FTC also filed actions against payday lenders American Credit Crunchers, LLC for allegedly making misrepresentations to collect on payday loan debts that they were not authorized to collect, or that consumers did not owe; and LoanPoint, LLC and Payday Financial, LLC for allegedly misrepresenting that they could lawfully garnish supposed debtors’ wages without obtaining a valid court order.
The FTC said it charged two other debt collectors with “especially egregious” practices:  Forensic Case Management Service, Inc., doing business as Rumson, Bolling & Associates, allegedly threatened physical harm to consumers, desecration of their deceased family members, and killing of their pets to persuade consumers to pay.

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