FTC Releases Debt Buyer Study

Explore:  Debt Buyers FTC

On January 30, the FTC released the results of a first-of-its-kind empirical study of the debt buying industry. The FTC looked at more than 5,000 portfolios of consumer debt with a face value of $143 billion, the majority of which was credit card debt, but which also included mortgage, medical, utility, telecommunications, and other debt. The report identifies a number of “key findings” related to (i) prices buyers paid for debt, (ii) information and account documentation that buyers received in the transaction, (iii) consumer disputes of debts, and (iv) debt age and statute of limitations. The FTC believes additional study of small debt buyers is required, as are reviews of debt buyers’ litigation practices and the accuracy of the information debt buyers receive and use to collect debts. While the report does not announce any specific policy or enforcement measures, the FTC notes that it continues to receive a high level of complaints about debt collectors, more than for any other industry, and that the sufficiency and accuracy of debt information remains a significant consumer protection concern.

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