While its acceptance of complaints is fairly new, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), stated this month that debt collection complaints rank Number 2 on its list. Despite only accepting complaints beginning in the summer of 2014, debt collection has soared to the top of the list, falling just below mortgage servicing complaints.
The CFPB, the agency responsible for consumer protection in the financial marketplace, states that between July 2014 and January 2015 it received approximately 12,000 complaints regarding debt collectors, with the most common complaint being collecting a debt from the wrong person. When asked to comment on this excessive number, the agency stated “[d]ebt collection firms continue to employ questionable, and sometimes illegal, methods of extracting money from consumers.”
Consumers are often in a disadvantageous position with collection agencies and they don’t know where else to turn. Filling a complaint with the CFPB or the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) often seems like the only option prior to seeking legal assistance. Most consumers are not aware that the under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) consumers are entitled to recover statutory damages and/or actual damages and attorneys’ fees from a debt collection agency. However, it will take a private attorney, like those at SmithMarco, P.C. to handle the case.
Other common documented complaints regarding collection agencies ranged from excessive calling, calling at inconvenient times, calling a debtors’ place of employment, failing to provide the debtor with sufficient information regarding the original debt and collection of debts that had already been repaid. Bottom line is, consumers need to familiarize themselves with the law to protect themselves. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is prohibited from placing repeated calls to a consumer, calling before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. and from failing to provide necessary information regarding the original debt upon request.
If you believe you are a victim of a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and you would like the advice or assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.