Annual report reveals scope of abuse in debt collection industry
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its annual report on enforcement of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) today and revealed that its enforcement actions resulted in millions of dollars of refunds to consumers who were victims of abusive debt collectors.
The report came in response to the FTC's mission as defined by Congress to protect consumers from abusive practices in the debt collection industry.
The report notes that as a result of FTC enforcement actions, consumers received a total of $4.86 million in refunds from debt collectors in 2021. This is reflective of the scope of abuse in the industry. It also indicates FTC enforcement action often results in financial payments to consumers who have been wronged.
The FTC also noted that it banned 17 companies and individuals from ever working in the debt collection industry again as a result of repeated violations of the law. This action is intended to both cull out bad actors and discourage others in the industry from engaging in malfeasance.
While the FTC was able to obtain nearly $5 million in monetary relief for consumers wronged by violations of the FDCPA, the regulator reports it is asking Congress for more extensive authority in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling. The FTC says:
The Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management v. FTC, 141 S. Ct. 1341 (2021) has made it much more difficult for the Commission to obtain monetary relief in cases involving unfair or deceptive debt collection practices that fall outside the scope of the FDCPA.
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