SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The California Collectors Association supports ACA International's launch of "The Path Forward: A Blueprint for Modernizing America's Debt Collection System."
"The Blueprint is a road map of public policy initiatives and industry practices achieved through active collaboration with ACA members, lawmakers and regulators to modernize a system of critical importance to our national, state and local economies," said ACA Chief Executive Officer Patrick Morris. "Others have offered their proposals to reform the debt collection industry, this is our plan."
"We believe the Blueprint will help consumers in California and nationwide as the industry looks ahead to removing unnecessary barriers to effective communication in the debt collection process and reducing complaints," said California Association of Collectors President Richard Hoffman.
According to ACA International General Counsel and Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Valerie Hayes, today's laws governing consumer debt collection are antiquated and were created for a different time and different circumstances. "The explosive growth in the use of cell phones, the Internet, social media, e-mail and other new technologies has changed how people communicate."
The Blueprint consists of five points and a commitment from ACA to help members prevent, reduce and resolve consumer complaints:
- Use Modern Technology Responsibly: Allow consumers and collectors to efficiently communicate with each other using modern technology such as e-mail and cell phones.
- Better, Simplified Communications with Consumers: Allow consumers and collectors to better and more effectively communicate about debts.
- Advocate for Responsible Litigation in the Collection Industry: Ensure equal access to the judicial system for all classes of litigants and hold those litigants acting in bad faith accountable for their actions.
- Assure Proper Debt Documentation: Improve the flow of information by clarifying the specific debt information that must be maintained by creditors and asset buyers in order to allow debt collectors to provide documentation responsive to a consumer's dispute regarding the amount of the debt, to whom the debt is owed or who is responsible for paying the debt.
- Adopt a Federal Seven-year Statute of Limitations for the use of Litigation to Collect Debts: Impose a seven-year Federal limitations period on the use of litigation to collect debt and prohibit filing or threatening to file suit on time-barred debts, while still allowing for the collection of the debt.
"ACA members will lead in working with lawmakers and regulators on state and federal issues including debt collection laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Truth in Lending Act," said Hayes. "Our aim is to collaborate with Congress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Attorney General Harris, the California Legislature and others to create a balanced system for debt collection that allows a vital industry to function and protect consumers."
"ACA will actively provide education and training to help our members, and their employees, better understand how and why they need to prevent, manage and resolve consumer complaints. Members must abide by a stringent code of ethics and those who engage in illegal activities should be held fully accountable to federal and state law," said Morris.
The ACA International Education Foundation has created www.askdoctordebt.com, an invaluable, free resource for consumers to learn more about their rights in debt collection and get questions answered. Available in English and Spanish, consumers visiting www.askdoctordebt.com are not asked to register or purchase anything.
The California Association of Collectors is a State Unit of ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. ACA is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and collection industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together more than 5,000 members in the United States and abroad, and their more than 150,000 employees, including third-party collection agencies, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates. ACA establishes a wide variety of products, services and publications. For more information on ACA International, visit www.acainternational.org.
Contact: Mark Schiffman, PR Director, [email protected] or (952) 259-2124
SOURCE The California Association of Collectors