Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration:A Roundtable Discussion #544507-00011

Submission Number:
Jonathan Kaplan
Proyecto Arqueologico Chocola
Initiative Name:
Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration:A Roundtable Discussion

I hereby explicitly request that no part of my statement be considered confidential and that the entire statement be included in the public record. If the FTC prohibits publication in the record certain specific kind of information, such as the name of the businesses detailed below, I will then explicitly request that such information not be included. As a victim of a “scavenger collection company,” or “junk debt collection company” (Asset Acceptance LLC, a subsidiary of Asset Acceptance Capital Corp.), I wish to raise certain issues on behalf of the citizen and consumer. The first is the routine violation of law (e.g., FDCPA, FRCA) by this company in its actions against me and which, upon even the most cursory research, appears widespread in this sector of the collections industry with respect to the experiences of other consumers. Accordingly, enforcement appears to be lax, I assume this is because these types of companies rely on a particular target to prey on generally who is helpless because of ignorance of the law and lack of means even to hire a lawyer to fight back. Other violations or actions that, in my view, should be codified in law or policy at the FTC, include: • “re-aging” of loans • astonishing difficulties if not the impossibility of enforcing proper response to challenges to debt claims and debt validation • possible complicity between original debt holders (in my case, Citicard) and the junk debt collector to keep credit accounts open, even though use of the card has been stopped or the debt has been paid off except, perhaps, for pennies owed, so that late charges and other fees can continue to totted up, so that the purported debt continues to grow over the years unbeknownst to the citizen or consumer. There are many other issues, as well, but given the space limitations, I will end with the emphatic encouragement to the FTC to introduce new requirements particularly for the junk debt collection companies and which should include: • sharply increasing the penalties for violations of law, • making available on the internet all details of purchased loans, including timelines and explanations of how the amounts of asserted debts are calculated, • a “three strikes you’re out” policy whereby if a junk debt collector is proven in a court of law in three separate instances to have violated the law the company loses its license as debt collectors in the states in which the violations occurred, • instant publishing, on the web, for example, of lobbying actions by junk debt collectors and amounts contributed to politicians, • and restrictions on the kind of debts that original creditors can sell to junk debt collectors based, for example, on amounts owed (a minimum of $5000). I plan to sue Asset Acceptance and will seek to raise some of these issues in my lawsuit but I remain very concerned and angry about the fact that there is insufficient policy and law on the books to ensure a fair and just result.