|Received:||5/14/2007 3:44:23 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Debt Collection Workshop|
Comments:Junk Debt Buyers (JDBs), the debt collection agencies, and the credit reporting agencies are, in my opinion, in bed together and on the offensive against the consumer. The debt collectors are constantly breaking the law and, quite often, the credit bureaus are allowing them to get away with it. The FCRA and FDCPA are rather weak consumer protection laws and seem to sway more in the favor of the credit bureaus and debt collectors. In my experience with debt collectors, I've found that they've re-aged accounts, threatened my wife with arrest, and used many deceptive means to try to collect on an ALLEGED debt. The FDCPA is not effective for most consumers because it doesn't allow for debt validation after 30 days and the penalty for violation is too low. The average debt collection agency budgets a certain percentage of their revenue to pay miniscule fines allowed by the FDCPA, and consider that a risk of “doing business”. They are running rampant and paying very little for their misdeeds. If the FDCPA allowed for larger damages as a result of violations, maybe the collectors would reconsider violating the law in pursuit of debts they are not even able to validate to the alleged consumer! Another problem I see is with the credit reporting agencies. They are given way too much power over a consumer’s financial future and not held accountable for their mistakes. One example I can offer is when I sent PROOF of re-aging and errors to Experian, only to have them deem my dispute frivolous because I had disputed it before. No legitimate dispute, with proof of error, should ever be deemed frivolous, yet it happens on a regular basis. Until the Federal government institutes stricter regulations on the credit reporting agencies, the problem is only going to get worse. In my opinion, the FCRA should allow for stricter penalty for the consumer against both the credit bureaus and the debt collectors. How can the U.S. consumers trust a corporation that allows a JDB to view potential consumer's personal information before purchasing a junk debt portfolio? That to me is third party disclosure at large and should not be allowed to happen. A JDB should have to deal with the risk of their profession. What happens to that personal information if they decide not to purchase a junk debt portfolio? Is it still in the possession of the JDB? With ID theft as prolific as it is today, wouldn't it be prudent to protect that information at all costs? I think so. In closing, I believe the FTC opinions should hold greater weight than they do at present. I think the FTC should be given more power to hold the JDBs, debt collectors, and credit bureaus, to stricter guidelines and more government regulation . Until we have better regulation of the JDB, debt collection and credit reporting industry, we will only be under the thumb of big business; leaving the consumer with weak consumer protection laws that only seem to assist the big business.