|Received:||1/8/2008 12:32:08 PM|
|Organization:||Lesser & Jordan|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Debt Collection Workshop|
Comments:I am a consumer lawyer who uses the FDCPA to assist my clients on a regular basis. The FDCPA is a mature, well understood consumer protection statute that is working well. Any changes should be directed towards minor technical fixes rather than wholesale changes. The fact that it offers practical remedies that consumers can use on their own, such as the do not contact letter and the verification request, differentiates it from other statutes that often are of no use to consumers unless they can afford a lawyer. Any changes proposed should be vetted in light of their impact on consumers' self help remedies. Nothing should be done that would interfere with these remedies. I would like to see the statute amended to explicitly authorize injunctive relief. Several courts have held that the statute does not permit injunctions against future violations. Having the ability to obtain such injunctions would be particularly helpful in actions against debt collectors who re-age accounts to extend the period of time that they appear on consumer reports or otherwise misrepresent account status to consumer reporting agencies. It can often be difficult to remove this information from the reporting agencies' files, particularly in light of the on-going reporting and re-reporting of the information by automated systems. Such a change should include language authorizing injunctive relief, and providing for an enhanced amount of statutory damages for violation of an injunction, in addition to the traditional remedies available to the courts in enforcing their orders.