FTC Advisory Opinion: Debt Collectors May Inform Consumers That Collection Efforts Have Ceased

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The Federal Trade Commission has issued an advisory opinion clarifying when the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows a debt collector to notify a consumer that it has ceased trying to collect a debt. The FDCPA provides that if a debt collector contacts a consumer to collect a debt, and the consumer disputes the debt in writing, the collector must stop collection efforts until it has sent the consumer written verification of the debt. ACA International, a debt collection trade association, asked the Commission to address whether, if a consumer disputes a debt in writing and the debt collector determines to cease its collection efforts, it would violate the FDCPA for the collector to notify the consumer that it has ceased its collection efforts. The FTC’s advisory opinion concluded that a debt collector informing a consumer that its collection efforts have ceased would not violate the FDCPA and would benefit the consumer, in that the consumer would no longer have to worry about further contacts from that collector.

The Commission vote approving issuance of the advisory opinion was 5-0. (File No. P06-4803) The staff contact is Thomas E. Kane, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3224.

Copies of the opinion are available from the FTC’s Web site, http://www.ftc.gov, and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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