ACA International helps FTC clarify, address consumers' top complaintsMortgagePress.comFederal Trade Commission, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, ACA International, Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, Rozanne Andersen
The Federal Trade Commission has released its 2009 Annual Report
to Congress on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
During the past few years, ACA International, The Association of
Credit and Collection Professionals, has worked with the FTC to
improve the method by which the FTC accepts and records complaints
so as to improve the accuracy of the information provided in the
report. ACA is pleased to see the FTC continues to try to
distinguish between consumer complaints and consumer inquiries and
that the FTC recognizes that not all debt collection practices
about which consumers complain are violations of the law.
Of particular concern to ACA was the fact the second most common
category of complaints included allegations collectors sought to
collect debts that have been discharged in bankruptcy. Both the
FDCPA and the Bankruptcy Code prohibit communication with consumers
once they have filed for bankruptcy. However, often collectors do
not receive notice of this bankruptcy filing. That is the reason
ACA is proposing to amend the Bankruptcy Code to require consumers,
at the time bankruptcy is filed, to provide notice to debt
collectors known by the consumer to be collecting a debt.
"This amendment to the Bankruptcy Code would be a very simple
solution to what is obviously a widespread problem for consumers
and debt collectors," commented Rozanne Andersen, ACA executive
vice president and general counsel. "ACA has met with numerous
Congressional offices to seek this fix and continues to seek
champions on this critical issue."
Another area of concern to the industry was that harassment
continued to be the most frequent violation consumers complained
"ACA International and its members believe everyone contacted by
a collector is entitled to fairness and respect, and we are
committed to these principles. ACA denounces any harassment of
consumers," stated Gary Rippentrop, chief executive office of ACA.
"ACA enforces a stringent code of ethics which goes beyond the
requirements set forth by the FDCPA. For example, each member of
our association is required to designate a contact person to
respond to any complaints the association receives regarding that
member. Every complaint ACA receives is treated seriously and is
addressed by staff or the ACA Ethics Committee."
ACA also provides extensive consumer education information
through the ACA International Education Foundation. "When consumers
are educated as to their rights under the law, they are better able
to communicate effectively with debt collectors to resolve their
debts," said Andersen.
In April 2009 the Education Foundation will be launching a
consumer education Web site, Ask Doctor Debt, which will feature a
comprehensive and continually updated database of the most
frequently asked questions consumers have when it comes to credit
and debt collection, along with numerous tools and resources aimed
at helping consumers improve their financial literacy.
For more information, visit www.acainternational.org".