The Federal Trade Commission

How the Federal Trade Commission can help you if you are dealing with debt collectors.

You are reading Debt Collection Answers Chapter 1, part 2. If you did not start at the beginning of this free guide to dealing with debt collectors, please return to the Debt collection Answers introduction.

The FTC and Debt Collection Laws

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal government regulatory agency responsible for enforcing a number of consumer protection laws, including the FDCPA. The agency also publishes many helpful fact sheets and brochures on debt collection and other consumer issues. To order these publications or to read them on-line, go the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov. Each year, the FTC reports to Congress about its activities and about the number of complaints it received from consumers during the previous year, including the number of complaints it received about abusive debt collectors.

Later in this book, we tell you how to file your own complaint against a debt collector with the FTC. If you do so, the FTC will not take action on your specific complaint; however, if it receives enough complaints from consumers about a particular debt collection agency to establish a pattern of abuse, the FTC will take legal action. For example, in July 2005 the FTC won a $10.2 million judgment against the debt collection firm National Check Control and its principals. The judgment is the largest for violations of the FDCPA in the FTC’s history. In addition, a federal district court judge permanently banned the defendants from continuing to engage in debt collection activities.

Also, if the FTC receives a lot of consumer complaints about a particular debt collection practice, it may recommend to Congress that the FDCPA be amended in order to address that practice.

Speak up! If you believe a debt collector is being abusive or misleading, or if you think your rights may have been violated, file a complaint with the FTC! Your complaint may help change the way that debt collectors operate and may cause abusive debt collectors to be punished for their actions. To file a complaint online, go to www.ftc.gov.

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