Last year the FTC received 280,998 complaints about questionable debt collection practices. We think consumers and responsible members of the industry can agree that number is higher than it should be. The FTC is fighting that battle on three fronts. We’ve brought dozens of cases – both on our own and with state partners – to enforce the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Section 5.
Blog Posts Tagged with Debt
As the name suggests, Green Tree Servicing was supposed to service homeowners’ mortgages by collecting and crediting monthly payments. But according to a $63 million settlement announced by the FTC and CFPB, rather than service, Green Tree gave many homeowners the business.
“What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding?” Elvis Costello asked that musical question back in the day. The Memorandum of Understanding between the FTC and CFPB – which the two agencies just reauthorized for a three-year period – shows that when it comes to protecting consumers, ensuring a vibrant marketplace for financial products and services, and using resources efficiently, we're in harmony.
If you’ve been following the FTC’s 50+ data security settlements, you know there are some places it’s not wise to leave sensitive information laying around – for example, in a dumpster behind a drugstore, in the trash near a payday loan company, or in an employee’s backpack.
They’re dangerous, they strike fast, and they rely on camouflage to ambush their prey. We call them CROA-codiles – companies that lure cash-strapped consumers in with false promises of debt relief and credit repair, in violation of the FTC Act and the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). According to a lawsuit just filed by the FTC, the defendants added to the injury by claiming a bogus affiliation with federal agencies – and the President.
Sci-fi fans will remember the 1996 movie "Mars Attacks!" where Americans banded together to fight off Martian invaders.
Ask most people to name the streets in the neighborhood where they grew up and they’ll tell you Maple Lane or Sycamore Drive. Ask a military kid – ask this military kid – and she’ll mention Tank Destroyer Boulevard and Hell on Wheels Avenue. Years ago, if you drove down Tank Destroyer and exited the East Gate of Fort Hood, the neon signs advertising “zero down,” “E-Z credit,” or “low monthly payments” lit up the Central Texas sky like a discount aurora borealis.
It’s called CROA – the Credit Repair Organizations Act – and it was put in place to protect people battling their way back from financial adversity. Given the long history of questionable practices in this sector, CROA makes it illegal to charge people upfront before services are rendered. It also bans misleading statements to credit bureaus about consumers’ credit records. There’s been lots of talk about the harm posed by false negative information in credit reports. But in an interesting twist,
Whooping it up can be fun, but hooping it up – requiring consumers to jump through hoops to exercise their rights under the Fair Credit Report Act – is illegal. That’s one message businesses can take from the FTC’s $3.5 million settlement with TeleCheck.
In an FTC action challenging allegedly illegal business practices by a payday loan operation affiliated with American Indian Tribes, a United States Magistrate Judge just issued a report and recommendation on the scope of the FTC Act. Attorneys will want to give the order a careful read, but here’s the need-to-know nugget: Over the defendants’ vigorous opposition, the Magistrate Judge concluded that the FTC Act “gives the FTC the authority to bring suit against Indian Tribes, arms of Indian Tribes, and employees and contractors of arms of
No, not the cherubic child star on reality TV. We’re talking about the serious repercussions of American Tax Relief's misleading claims about substantially reducing what consumers owed in taxes — and major mistakes some businesses make when it comes to the financial consequences of deception. A look at the settlement offers insights into the breadth of remedies available for violations of the FTC Act and related rules.
Let’s cut to the chase, Girlfriend. You’re one annoying you-know-what. And according to multiple lawsuits filed by the FTC, those robocalls you’re placing are big-time illegal.
You’ve heard the truisms. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never play cards with a guy named Doc. We’ve got another one for you: Think twice before doing business with a company called Legitimate Debt Settlement.
The charges outlined in the FTC’s lawsuits against a software business and seven rent-to-own companies are surprising — and OK, some might say a little creepy. Software on rented computers gave the companies the ability to hit the kill switch if people were behind on their payments. But according to the complaints, it also let them collect sensitive personal information, grab screen shots, and take webcam photos of people in their homes.
"Hey, I've never met you.
So don't get clever.
That's my number.
Robocall me never."
Never underestimate the creativity of marketers attempting to separate cash-strapped consumers from their last dollar. And never underestimate the FTC’s resolve to protect people from deception in tough economic times. Those are just two points to take from recent FTC law enforcement actions.
We've done a little renovating around the BCP Business Center. Nothing major like adding a rumpus room or finishing the basement. Just a few updates in response to your suggestions.
On classic episodes of the Tonight Show, affable sidekick Ed McMahon sought guidance from Johnny Carson's all-knowing Carnac character. But as demonstrated by a recent FTC law enforcement action — which involved a company's misleading reference to the late Mr. McMahon — you don't need a psychic to know that challenging deceptive debt collection practices remains a top priority.
If you haven’t already, hover up to your toolbar and bookmark the FTC’s Regulatory Review page. It’s your one-stop resource for what's coming up and what’s going down with Commission rules and guides of interest to your business and your clients. Recent announcements about the FTC's regulatory review schedule make it a must-read.
Imagine for a moment your ideal customer. They consider their choices carefully before buying. They keep their accounts current. When service is top-notch, they spread the word to friends and family. If there’s a glitch, they give you a chance to correct the problem before posting thumbs-down reviews. Now imagine you could “create” your own cadre of contented customers. Fantasy Land? It’s more real than you might imagine.