The Federal Trade Commission just released its annual report on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This report has some interesting tidbits:
- Debt collection complaints are the #1 type of complaint the FTC receives;
- Total number of complaints in 2007 was 70,951, up over 1,000 from 2006;
- Over 38% of the FDCPA complaints were about debt collectors demanding more money than is permitted by law;
- Almost 20% of the FDCPA complaints were about harassing behavior;
- 6.5% of complaints were about threatening an action that the debt collector could not take;
- Just under 6% of complaints were about calls to a consumer’s workplace;
- Failing to send consumer notices or validating a debt were, combined, 5.7% of all complaints; and
- Almost 5% of complaints were about debt collectors continuing communication after receiving a cease communication letter.
The report also provides information on consumer education, including the Staff Commentary about the FDCPA which you can find here.
There is nothing in here that shocks me. The debt collection industry has some good collectors and some bad collectors. I know a few collectors who I can settle cases with easily and professionally. At the same time, I know plenty of collectors who will stop at nothing to try to collect money – whether it is owed or not.
Bottom line: violations still occur and if you think a debt collector has violated the FDCPA, you can contact the FTC or an attorney so that you know your rights.