Second FTC Roundtable to Discuss Debt Collection Arbitration and Litigation; Call for Public Comments

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission will host a two-day public event on consumer protection issues in litigation and arbitration proceedings to collect on consumer debt. This will be the second in a series of three FTC roundtable discussions on these topics.

WHAT: “Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration:
A Roundtable Discussion”
WHEN: September 29 & 30, 2009
Registration – begins at 8 a.m. both days
September 29 session will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
September 30 session will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: San Francisco State University Downtown Campus
835 Market Street, Rooms 675 and 676
San Francisco, CA 94103

This Roundtable follows up on the Commission’s February 2009 Report, Collecting Consumer Debts: The Challenges of Change – A Workshop Report, which recommended that the debt collection regulatory system in the United States be reformed and modernized. The Report also announced that the FTC would hold regional roundtables to help develop policy recommendations related to debt collection litigation and arbitration proceedings against consumers. The first Roundtable was held in Chicago in August 2009. The San Francisco event is the second of these Roundtable discussions, and the participants will include state court judges, government officials, debt collectors, consumer advocates, academics, and other stakeholders. The final session will be held on December 4 in Washington, DC.

The first day of the Roundtable, September 29, will cover topics in consumer debt collection arbitration proceedings, such as the role of consumer choice, perceptions of bias, transparency of results, post-decision issues, and future directions in arbitration of consumer debts. The second day of the Roundtable, September 30, will cover topics in consumer debt collection litigation proceedings, such as service of process, consumer default rates, time-barred debts, evidentiary requirements in collection actions, and post-judgment issues.

The Roundtable is free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required. Seating is limited, however, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Details can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/debtcollectround/index.shtm. Watch this Web site for information about whether the Commission will offer a live webcast of the event for those who wish to participate but cannot attend.

The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be participants in the San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Roundtables and to recommend other topics for discussion. Requests for the San Francisco Roundtable should be submitted electronically to consumerdebtevents@ftc.gov by September 15, 2009, and requests for the Washington, D.C. Roundtable should be submitted to the same email address by October 15, 2009. Interested parties should include both a statement detailing their expertise on the issues to be addressed and complete contact information. The Commission will invite discussants based on their expertise and on the need to represent a range of views.

Interested parties are also highly encouraged to submit written comments or original research through November 30, 2009. Comments should refer to “Debt Collection Roundtable – Comment, Project No. P094806.” To file electronically, follow the instructions and fill out the form at https://public.commentworks.com/ftc/debtcollectroundtable2. Paper comments should include the above reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex A), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments containing confidential material, however, must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with Commission Rule 4.9(c). The FTC requests that any paper comments be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. If you need an accommodation related to a disability, please contact Bevin Murphy at 202-326-3224 or via e-mail at consumerdebtevents@ftc.gov. Your request should include a detailed description of the accommodations you need and a way to contact you if we need more information. Please provide advance notice.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

( Debt Collection Roundtable)

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180
STAFF CONTACT:
Julie Bush,
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3608