FTC Extends Comment Period for Proposed Policy Statement Clarifying How to Collect Decedents Debts

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The Federal Trade Commission is extending the public comment period, until December 1, 2010, on a proposed policy statement clarifying when the FTC will take action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the FTC Act against companies who contact the relatives of deceased consumers to collect the decedent’s debts.

On October 8, 2010, the FTC published in the Federal Register a proposed policy statement clarifying how the FTC will enforce federal law regarding:

  • Whom debt collectors are allowed to contact to discuss a decedent’s debt;
  • How collectors can contact and identify the right party to discuss a decedent’s debt; and
  • How collectors should avoid giving relatives the misleading impression that they are personally obligated to pay the debt from their own assets, rather than from the decedent’s estate.

In its Federal Register Notice, the FTC asked that interested parties submit public comments by November 8, 2010. To give interested parties more time to present their views and supporting information, the FTC will extend the public comment period until December 1, 2010, and will publish a new Federal Register Notice shortly.

The Commission vote to extend the comment period was 5-0.

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 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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