ACA International, Encouraged by the Federal Trade Commission's New Effort to Stop Scammers and Bad Actors Posing as Legitimate Debt Collectors, Warns that the Scope of the Program Could Snare Legitimate Businesses

The FTC's new program risks sweeping legitimate debt collectors that make every effort to comply with the law into an enforcement target aimed at scammers and bad actors.

Nov 09, 2015, 06:00 ET from ACA International

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals, is raising concerns over a new law enforcement program launched last week by the Federal Trade Commission that could paint legitimate debt collectors and fraudsters with one broad stroke.

The Federal Trade Commission announced November 4 the beginning of Operation Collection Protection – a new coordinated federal-state enforcement initiative targeting deceptive and abusive debt collection practices. As part of Operation Collection Protection, the FTC released information on 30 federal, state and local law enforcement actions taken against debt collection agencies. The FTC also announced five new enforcement actions against collectors allegedly engaged in illegal practices.

The FTC is partnering with law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Attorneys General from 47 states and the District of Columbia, and local law enforcement authorities for this program.

ACA International unequivocally condemns fraudulent, abusive, and unethical debt collection practices. ACA welcomes the opportunity to work with the FTC and other government agencies to stop criminals and bad actors. However, the FTC's new effort does not clearly define or acknowledge the difference between illegal operations and scammers and those legitimate debt collectors who make a sincere effort to comply with numerous and complex regulations and yet make compliance errors.

"There is a genuine difference between an honest, legitimate business struggling to comply with very complex and often unclear laws and those who flout the law and have absolutely no intent to comply," said ACA CEO Pat Morris. "The fact is that the vast majority of debt collectors in the industry treat consumers with respect and within the law."

ACA has long led the effort to stop criminal debt collection activity and has worked consistently with the FTC and other regulators to help them understand the complex issues that legitimate debt collectors face.

ACA International (ACA), the association of credit and collection professionals, is the largest membership organization in the credit and collection industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together third-party collection agencies, law firms, asset buying companies, creditors and vendor affiliates, representing tens of thousands of industry professionals. ACA produces a wide variety of products, services and publications, including educational and compliance-related information; and articulates the value of the credit and collection industry to businesses, policymakers and consumers.

Cindy Sebrell
VP Public Affairs, ACA International

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SOURCE ACA International