Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
Two weeks ago the Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a scathing report about the illicit practices of bill collectors. Of course, this is a regular complaint that I hear from my Long Island bankruptcy clients.
The GAO has been asked by Congress to examine federal and state consumer protections statutes to see if they were working. They concluded that they were not and reported back to Congress that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) should be amended to provide consumers with better protection. Like, tell us something we don’t know!
The report, Credit Cards: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Could Better Reflect the Evolving Debt Collection Marketplace and Use of Technology,  is interesting reading and 66 pages long.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives more complaints about bill collectors and the debt collection industry than any other industry. Last year they received 79,000 complaints on third-party debt collectors. This is almost 19 percent of all of the complaints it received.
Ongoing abusive practices include trying to collect debt that isn’t owed or is beyond the statute of limitations, making harassing phone calls, threatening to make arrests that the debt collector has no authority to make, and collecting debt discharged in bankruptcy.
I previously wrote about efforts here in New York to deal with the problem of rogue bill collectors: Debt Collectors Shut Down by Attorney General .
Hopefully, Congress will indeed make the debt collection laws stricter to prevent the abuse that we hear so often.