Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration:A Roundtable Discussion
According to your published article titled: "Debt Collectors Settle with FTC, Abusive Practices Affected Consumers Nationwide" and dated 07/02/2009, the FTC suspended a large portion of the settlement imposed on the owners of Oxford Collection Agency, Inc. due to their inability to pay. "The settlements prohibit the defendants from further violations of the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The settlement with Oxford Collection Agency, Inc., doing business as Oxford Management Services, Richard Pinto, Peter Pinto, and Charles Harris imposes a civil penalty of $1,060,000, all but $225,000 of which will be suspended. The settlement with Salvatore Spinelli, individually, and d/b/a Salvatore Spinelli, Esq., Attorney-at-Law, also imposes a $1,060,000 civil penalty, which will be suspended based on his inability to pay. The full judgments will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition. The full judgments will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition." Why would the FTC basically forgive $1,060,000.00 of Oxford debt due to the owners inability to pay? Did the FTC go after his home, car, retirement savings, social security or disability income? Do you think Oxford as a company or as the owner, gave the same consideration and forgiveness to the hundreds of consumers they threatened and abused with their unlawful tactics based on their inability to pay? I THINK NOT! In my humble opinion, the FTC should sell the noncollectable portion of this debt to a junk debt buyer for pennies on the dollar and force Oxford and their owners into the same never ending battle that they themselves had place countless others. Let Oxford's owners experience the same equaling years of harassment, humiliation, degradation, garnishments, bank freezes and constant fear of losing their home and what they own...the same as they have subjected others. As long as the government protects those in the collections industry with this type of preferential treatment, there will never be a reason for debt collectors or debt buyers to clean up their act. Until debt collectors and debt buyers feel the same pain as those they are trying to collect from, there will never be a level playing field.