The Federal Trade Commission has provided the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with its annual summary of activities to protect consumers from abusive and predatory debt collectors. The CFPB requested the summary for its annual report to Congress on the activities of both agencies, who share law enforcement responsibility in this area, to put a stop to unlawful debt collection that harms consumers.
In 2021, the Commission took action to stop abusive debt collectors who prey on consumers by:
- resolving three Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) cases against 17 defendants and banned all 17 companies and individuals who engaged in serious and repeated violations of law from ever working in debt collection again;
- issuing more than $4.86 million refunds to consumers harmed by unlawful debt collection practices;
- filing amended complaints in two enforcement actions alleging unlawful debt collection practices against small businesses;
- sending a joint letter with the CFPB to the nation’s largest landlords reminding them of their obligations under the FTC Act and the FDCPA; and
- providing tens of millions of people educational materials, in both English and Spanish, informing them about their rights, and educating debt collectors about their responsibilities, under the FDCPA and FTC Act.
The report also noted that the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management v. FTC, 141 S. Ct. 1341 (2021) has made it much more difficult for the Commission to obtain monetary relief in cases involving unfair or deceptive debt collection practices that fall outside the scope of the FDCPA. The Commission has asked Congress to amend the FTC Act to restore the Commission’s ability to obtain monetary relief in such cases.
These highlights are contained in an annual summary of the FTC’s activities concerning abusive debt collection that the agency provided to the CFPB. The FTC shares enforcement responsibility for the FDCPA with the CFPB, which provides an annual report to Congress about debt collection enforcement activities.
The annual report, which was released today, highlights both agencies’ efforts to stop unlawful debt collection practices, including law enforcement, education and public outreach, and policy initiatives.