ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, strongly disagrees with the recent report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) to forgive student loan debt and the inaccurate portrait of debt collection created to further its agenda.
“In recovering delinquent or defaulted student loan debt on behalf of the Department of Education, collectors are proud of their exceptional customer service and efforts to return tax dollars to American taxpayers,” said ACA CEO Pat Morris. “Our members have a fundamental belief that consumers, regardless of the type of debt being collected, deserve to be treated respectfully and lawfully.”
“We take consumer complaints very seriously and agree on the importance of protecting consumers against businesses that engage in deceptive, unfair or abusive practices,” said Morris. However, the report, which relies more on assumption and personal opinion than fact, fails to paint a clear picture about consumer complaints against the third-party debt collection industry:
More debt volume = more contacts = more complaints. Student loan debt in America now outpaces credit card debt. This increase, along with an increase in volume of delinquent or defaulted debt as a result of the economy, is prompting more consumer contact from collectors than ever before.
Consumer complaints are rising overall, not just for debt collection. Since 2001, overall FTC complaint volume for all industries rose from 325,000 complaints to 1.8 million. In 2002, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received 626,000 complaints overall, of which 10,000 were collection agency related. In 2011, complaints rose to 895,000 overall, of which 17,500 were collection agency related.
New technology has made it easier for consumers to submit complaints. Consumers now have more opportunities to file complaints online or with smartphone applications that make the process far easier than ever to record a complaint for any reason. One new application boasts that it has sent more than 214,000 complaints to the FTC since its inception.
Collectors want to resolve consumer complaints. Debt collectors want to work with consumers to resolve complaints but can’t under the current FTC model. ACA members plan to work closely with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to resolve issues presented through the bureau’s proposed complaint resolution system for debt collection complaints. According to the BBB, which has a complaint resolution model, debt collectors resolve 83 percent of the complaints received; significantly higher than other industries.
ACA is helping consumers find useful information and resources at www.askdoctordebt.org. Questions are answered by debt collection experts. Visitors are not asked to register, provide any personal information, or pay for anything.
“Debt collection has significant economic benefit,” said Morris. Recent data confirms that third-party debt collection is essential to the national and state economies, which are built on a foundation that those who provide credit, goods and services expect to be repaid. Collection agencies are employers, taxpayers and active in their communities.
For more information, contact Mark Schiffman at (952) 259-2124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on ACA Federal Government Affairs, click here.