In its annual report to Congress on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), released last week (see story), the Federal Trade Commission's methodology for analysis paints an incomplete and inaccurate portrayal of consumer complaints against the third-party collection industry.
"We agree with the FTC about the importance of consumer protection from debt collectors who engage in deceptive, unfair or abusive collection practices," says ACA International CEO Rozanne Andersen. "But, respectfully, by counting solely the number of consumer complaints without verification of whether they were actually illegal or a violation of the FDCPA, or whether the complaints were resolved, only tells a small part of the real story."
According to the Council of Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) annual report on complaint resolution released in early March 2010, the collection industry resolved 85% of the complaints it had received in 2009, compared to the average of 73.8% among all industries tracked by the BBB.

“Effective complaint resolution helps consumers find answers to their questions and reduces the likelihood and expense of adjudication through the legal process,” says Andersen.
Since 2002, the credit and collection industry has resolved an average of 82.5% of the complaints filed with the BBB - exceeding by 11.5% the average of complaint resolution by all industries. From 2002-2009, all other industries resolved on average 71.45% of the complaints received.
“We are proud of our rate for complaint resolution, but we are pushing ourselves to do better," says Andersen. "That’s why ACA is resolved to continue working with the FTC, state attorneys general, regulators and others to better assess consumer complaints and ensure that, as an industry, we better understand and diligently address them."

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