Home > News > Debt Collectors Respond to Your Top Complaints

Comments 1 Comment

Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s wrong. That’s pretty much the response debt collectors have to last week’s report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that outlines the major complaints it receives from people who have dealt with debt collectors.

ACA International, the largest trade group for the third-party debt collection industry, conducts a quarterly analysis of complaints submitted to the CFPB, and the group highlighted aspects of the data that had been left out of the CFPB’s report, according to a news release from ACA.

The CFPB started collecting complaints about the debt collection industry in July 2013 and has received more than 30,000 complaints since then. ACA takes issue with whether these complaints actually involve regulatory infractions.

“While a consumer may not like something (such as being contacted about a debt or receiving multiple calls) it does not mean that the collector actually did anything wrong,” the news release says. “Neither the CFPB nor the FTC investigates these complaints as to whether a complaint actually violates the law.”

Collecting a consumer debt isn’t an enjoyable experience for either party involved, but it’s necessary, the organization said. And it’s more complicated than you may think.

Collectors have to abide by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), which prevents collectors from acknowledging the debt to anyone but the consumer or his or her attorney. As such, collectors may choose not to leave voice mails — meaning they will call back. A lot, if necessary. Once the collector gets a hold of someone, he or she must confirm the identity of the consumer, which can seem invasive, confusing and annoying.

The most common complaints from consumers about debt collectors included collectors telling consumers to repay debts they do not owe, employing aggressive communication tactics and using abusive language. The report also said collectors are threatening consumers with extreme consequences if they don’t pay, like jail time or a lawsuit. While many things a collector has to do may be unpleasant for a consumer to deal with, there are plenty of things that are illegal for collectors to do or say. It’s important for consumers to know their rights when dealing with collectors.

In reviewing the publicly available report from the CFPB, ACA determined that 96% of complaints are responded to within the CFPB’s established timeline for doing so, and 94% are resolved — so it seems ACA is addressing issues that arise. The group emphasized an important aspect of dealing with debt collectors: Don’t ignore them, because that’s not going to solve anything.

If a debt collector contacts you, you should always verify that you owe the debt before making any sort of payment. It helps to check your credit report for any inaccuracies regarding the debt, and your report will also show you who owns the debt and is the best point of contact for any questions regarding the account. If you monitor your credit scores (which you can do for free through Credit.com), you can see the effects an unresolved debt will have — which can be all the more motivation to work toward resolving the problem as soon as you can.

More on Managing Debt:

Image: Viorel Sima

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • http://www.australiadebtcollection.com.au/ Australia Debt Collection

    Hi, Nice blog. In legal way, Debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to other. Late-paying customers, such as Customers who will do whatever possible to avoid any payment are penalized by Debt collector in a legal way.
    Thanks for your post.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team