As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. That’s so true when it comes to the thorny issues surrounding debt collection practices. Unlawful debt collection practices are a long-standing source of consumer complaints. So, it only makes sense to have two cops on the beat; the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau work together to enforce the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and keep debt collection practices lawful. The Dodd-Frank Act directs the CFPB to take the lead on an annual report to Congress about the federal government’s debt collection initiatives. To help with the report, the FTC puts together a comprehensive description of the Commission’s law enforcement, consumer education, and policy activities related to debt collection.
The FTC targeted debt collection that’s deceptive, unfair, or abusive as one of its highest priorities in 2014– and made great strides. Commission lawyers filed 10 new cases against 56 defendants. Of the cases the Commission resolved last year, it netted nearly $140 million in judgments ($16.5 million of which has been collected). The FTC’s efforts resulted in 47 companies and individuals being banned from ever working in debt collection again.
Efforts to keep debt collection practices within the law are not limited to law enforcement. In 2014 alone, the FTC’s sites logged more than 1.3 million page views of our publications related to debt collection. In October, the Commission and CFPB co-hosted a roundtable in California to look into how debt collection issues may affect Latino consumers, especially those who have limited proficiency in English. If your business collects debts, take a minute to look over our guidance to keep your practices in line with the law.