The Federal Trade Commission issued a report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding the FTC’s enforcement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 created the CFPB and tasked the agency with taking over the annual FDCPA report to Congress. Because the FTC is still responsible for FDCPA enforcement actions, it produced the report for use in the CFPB’s Congressional report, expected to be released in March.
According to the FTC’s press release, the agency brought cases against seven debt collectors. The agency settled charges and banned Rumson, Bolling & Associates from debt collection activity. It also settled with Luebke Baker, which was accused of caller ID spoofing and threatening wage garnishments, among other things. Two cases, those pertaining to Goldman Schwartz and AMG Services, are still in litigation.
The FTC also highlighted its work in what it termed “phantom debt” cases, where defendants collected money that wasn’t owed or that wasn’t applied to the debts. The three defendants are American Credit Crunchers, Pro Credit Group, and Broadway Global Master.
RJM Acquisitions got off the hook when the FTC closed a case alleging that the debt collector attempted to collect time-barred debt. In exchange, RJM Acquisitions included language in its debt collection notices so that consumers wouldn’t think they could be sued for the debt.
Finally, and arguably most importantly, the FTC, CFPB, and Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine whether or not consumers who file FDCPA lawsuits in good faith and lose are required to pay defendants’ attorney fees.