DEBT COLLECTION VIOLATIONS

This action is part of the Bureau’s work to address illegal debt collection practices across the consumer financial marketplace, including companies who sell, buy, and collect debt. For instance, in separate enforcement actions, the CFPB has ordered three of the law firm’s clients, JPMorgan Chase, Portfolio Recovery Associates, and Encore Capital Group, to overhaul their debt collection practices and to refund millions to harmed consumers. The Bureau will continue working to ensure all players in the collections market treat consumers fairly. The final consent order can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201601_cfpb_stipulated-final-judgment-and-order-frederick-j-hanna.pdf The CFPB’s complaint in the lawsuit can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201407_cfpb_complaint_hanna.pdf The proposed consent order filed today follows an earlier court order issued in July 2015 that rejected the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case. Among other things, that court ruling held that attorneys have an obligation to meaningfully review the facts of a lawsuit before filing it and that the CFPB has the authority to take action against attorneys engaged in illegal consumer debt-collection practices.

Abusive Collection Practices and Doctor or Hospital Bills

Half of all overdue debt on credit reports is from medical debt: A staggering 52 percent of all debt on credit reports is from medical expenses. When a debt is past due, a collector may report the consumer’s account to a credit reporting agency. On the consumer’s report, this item would appear as an account in collections, resulting in a credit score drop.

Debt Collection Violations, False threats to Come to Home or Office

Collectors threatened consumers to avoid additional collection activity, including being visited at home or work. In fact, the entity(ies) did not actually conduct such in-person collection visits. Supervision concluded these representations constituted deceptive acts or practices. Delinquent consumers could reasonably interpret the entity(ies)’ statements to mean that in-person visits to the consumers’ place of employment or home would take place if the consumers did not immediately contact the entity(ies). The representations were material to consumers because they could cause consumers to change their behavior to avoid the promised visits. One or more entities agreed to modify their collection practices to comply with Federal consumer financial laws.

Debt Collection Violations, Calling at Odd Hours or Inconvenient Times

Communicating with consumers at a time known to be inconvenient Under section 805(a)(1) of the FDCPA, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt at any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer.

Unlawful Debt Collection Practices

violated the FDCPA by attempting to collect a debt directly from the authorized user of a credit card even though the authorized user was not financially responsible for the debt. The practice of soliciting payment from a non-obligated user in a manner that implies that the authorized user is personally responsible for the debt constitutes a deceptive means to collect a debt in violation of the FDCPA

Online Marketing Schemes and Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission has charged an online marketing operation with deceptively luring people into an expensive negative option scam using an initial low-cost ($1.03, plus shipping and handling) “trial” offer for tooth whiteners and other products. A federal court temporarily halted the operation and froze its assets at the request of the FTC, which … Continue reading Online Marketing Schemes and Fraud