Further Crackdowns on Abusive Debt Collectors: FTC Issues Fines and Steps up FDCPA Enforcement to Protect You

by Adam J Krohn on July 31, 2013

Consumers who are deep in debt have enough to worry about without being continuously harassed by debt collection companies.  According to federal data, there are around 30 million Americans that have debt that is under collection.  Some of the abusive debt collectors make harassing phone calls, sometimes even late at night.  They may also use threats, saying that they will contact a consumer’s employer, file a lawsuit, or have the consumers wages garnished.  However, authorities are beginning to go after abusive debt collectors, including our post last week regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

FTC Fines Debt Collection Company

Expert Global Solutions of Plano, Texas, the world’s largest debt collection company, has been fined $3.2 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for using abusive practices.  This company would call consumers several times a day, including early in the morning or late at night, as well as call a consumer’s place of employment.  They would use these tactics to intentionally annoy, abuse, or harass consumers.  In some cases, they would continue to contact consumers even after the debt was paid off.  They just did not bother to verify that the debt was still in existence prior to contact.

Now Expert Global will be required stop calling consumers who dispute the debt until the company has been verified whether it has been paid.  Additionally, collectors are now required to stop calling consumers who have requested not to be contacted further or even if they refuse to pay the debt.

What can you do if you are being harassed by a debt collection company?

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) debt collector are prohibited from certain types of abusive behaviors, such as:

  • Calling the consumer via telephone outside the hours of 8am and 9 pm local time;
  • Failing to stop communication when requested to do so by the consumer;
  • Repeatedly or continuously calling the consumer, causing the telephone to ring or engaging the person in a conversation with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at that number;
  • Calling consumers at their place of employment after they have been told that it is not acceptable or is prohibited by the employer;
  • Contacting the consumer when it is known that they are represented by an attorney;
  • Communicating with the consumer once a validation request has been made;
  • Misrepresenting the debt or being deceptive when trying to collect the debt; and
  • Publishing on a bad debt list, the consumer’s name or address.

In order to stop a collection agency’s abusive behavior, you can send a “cease and desist letter.”  Under the FDCPA, once a collection agency receives the letter the only contact it can make with you is to inform you that it will not be contacting you any longer or that it plans on taking specific action, such as filing a lawsuit.  You should send the letter registered mail and return receipt requested so that you can prove that you mailed it and that it was received by the collection agency.  Also, you have the right to force the debt collector to validate the debt that you alleged owe.

We understand the frustration you may have when dealing with an aggressive debt collector. We have been successfully representing those abused and taken advantage of by debt collectors for years, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 if you prefer to talk to a trained professional over the phone instead, or of course, visit our website at http://www.westopdebtcollectors.com/.

Adam J Krohn
Adam J. Krohn is one of the founding partners of Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® He has been admitted to practice law in Illinois, Missouri.
Adam J Krohn
Adam J Krohn

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