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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that debt collectors have incited more complaints compared to other industries. In fact, the report showed that the debt collection industry causes Americans more pain than any other business.
In 2010, 140,036 complaints regarding debt collection were received by the FTC. It shows an increase of approximately 17% from the 119,609 received by the commission in 2009. Both numbers are higher compared to any other industry.
According to Gail Hillebrand, the director Consumers Union’s Defend Your Dollars campaign, there is now a need to implement more guidelines and law enforcement in debt collection. “These things have been illegal for years and they are still taking place,” said Hillebrand.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which was signed into law way back in 1978, aims to protect the consumers from various forms of harassment, abuse, as well as deceptive collection practices done by the collection industry.
These very things that the law seeks to protect the consumers from were the same factors that caused consumers to file complaints in record numbers in 2010.
Specific data in the FTC report revealed that 54,147 consumers had filed complaints about collectors harassing them with repeated calls. Around 27,554 complained that they were wrongly threatened with lawsuits or some other legal actions, while 4,182 said they were warned of impending violence if they are unable to pay.
According to Joel Winston, the associate director at the FTC, a lot of consumers have no idea that the law requires collectors to furnish them adequate information upfront when they begin collecting on a debt. Inside the first 5 days, the collectors must furnish consumers a written notice which details the amount of the debt, the creditor’s name, and to whom a debt is owed.