In a very long feature article running in The New York Times Magazine, author Jake Halpern explores the world of debt brokers and buyers through the eyes of two veteran collection professionals.
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Gordon Beck, Chief Operating Officer of Diversified Consultants, Inc., based in Jacksonville, Florida, sat for an interview last week with ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. Beck said ABC set out to investigate TCPA lawsuits where companies – including collection agencies – dialed wrong numbers. ABC producers told Beck that he was the only collection agency official that agreed to be interviewed.
In what is being touted as the largest TCPA settlement ever, Capital One and three collection agencies have agreed to pay $75.5 million into a settlement fund to end litigation in a combined class action. The agreement admits no wrongdoing on the part of the companies for allegedly using autodialers and/or pre-recorded messages in calls to cell phones without the consumers’ express consent.
The issue of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s alleged favoritism in rewarding a debt collection contract boiled over on the weekend as his office released official collection totals for last year and a prominent newspaper published a blistering editorial on the matter.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday upheld a lower court’s ruling that a defendant collection agency was entitled to some $33,000 in attorney’s fees and costs in an FDCPA case found to be brought in bad faith and specifically for the purpose of harassment.
Is that interesting enough? No? Well, it involved an outspoken consumer advocate’s gloating posts on a debtor-focused message board, posts that ultimately led to the awarding of fees.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Tuesday that it is extending the comment period for its proposal to add consumer narratives to the public complaints database it manages. The proposal would give consumers the chance to explain exactly what lead to a complaint.
A federal class action lawsuit in Seattle alleges that a collection agency used the King County prosecutor’s seals on debt collection letters to consumers, while failing to disclose that the letter was from a collection agency and not a law enforcement office. The plaintiffs say they received seemingly official letters from Missouri-based collection agency Bounceback which included threats of jail time if consumers didn’t pay the amount of the debt and more than $180 in fees. Bounceback was able to use the county prosecutor’s seal on these collection letters because it participates in a “check enforcement program,” where county prosecutors rent out the prosecutor’s seal and letterhead in exchange for a cut of the collection fees.
A business group headed by former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has launched a public relations campaign against the CFPB’s open access complaints database. A new proposal from the agency to include consumer narratives appears to be the impetus for the action.
In a bulletin issued Monday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) provided new guidance to banks intended to advise debt portfolio sellers about the OCC’s supervisory expectations for structuring debt-sales arrangements with debt buyers.
Allied Collection Services, Inc. (ACSI), a specialty provider of collections, outsourcing, and litigation solutions based in Las Vegas, announced that it has hired Michael A. Chamberlain as Executive Vice President.
Rudy Knepper, President of Stoneleigh Recovery Associates (SRA), announced today that SRA has added Mark Savoie to their roster as Vice President of Business Development. In this role, Mr. Savoie will use his experience and his extensive professional network to grow SRA into one of the top industry providers of accounts receivable management services.
Capio Partners is pleased to announce that company co-founder and board chairman Jim Richards has been named president-elect of ACA International for the 2014 – 2015 association year.
Two weeks ago, the CFPB announced an aggressive lawsuit against a debt collection law firm accusing the ARM company of being little more than a “lawsuit mill.” The firm vowed to fight the suit. As details emerge, it appears that the defendants have a decent case, backed by prior court rulings on the same issue.
The third-party debt collection industry returned some $45 billion to creditors and other clients in 2013, according to a study released today by ACA International. The report, based on a survey and other statistical analysis by Ernst & Young, is the latest in a series of comprehensive industry studies.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office reached a settlement with one of the largest debt collection firms in New York State to ensure that it does not file legal actions against New Yorkers to collect on payday loans.
The number of debt collection complaints published by the CFPB in the second quarter of 2014 virtually mirrors the number published in the previous quarter. In Q2, the CFPB published 10,265 complaints related to debt collection compared to 10,231 in Q1.
Welcome to the Culture of Unaccountability. There are approximately 318 million people in the United States and 75 to 100 million of them have completely refused to communicate with their original lender or to the entity to which they may owe money.
NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show aired a segment yesterday called “Inside America’s Debt Collection Industry.” Among the four guests, there were no representatives from the debt collection industry. What’s also interesting is that, in fact, most of the discussion was not about third party debt collectors, but creditors, debt buyers, and credit reporting agencies.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act played to packed audiences through two sessions Wednesday at ACA International’s 75th Anniversary Convention & Expo in Chicago. At issues for those in the debt industry are: effective consent language and present capacity.
Last month’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that allowed a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claim to be made against a bankruptcy proof of claim filed on out-of-statute debt will get a rehearing if a petition filed by LVNV Funding, LLC is granted.
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After granting an FDCPA and TCPA case, at the request of the plaintiff’s attorney, a court in Texas sent the case to the state’s legal governing body for a potential license review of the prolific consumer attorney.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently being urged to provide guidance and make rules more clear in its regulation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Two separate petitions for clarification have received attention lately, including from a group of U.S. Representatives.
The Idaho Department of Finance recently issued guidance to assist licensed collection agencies in complying with the Idaho Collection Agency Act. The department issued the guidance in response to an Idaho Supreme Court decision that impacts the way collection agencies are required to operate under the provisions of the act. The Supreme Court decision specifically addressed a collection agency’s ability to collect fees and other charges related to a consumer’s debt.
Do you ever use or hear a word so much, that you actually forget what it means? I don’t mean the spelling (don’t even get me started on spelling), but what the actual definition of the word is. For me that word is “brand.”
Business analytics and consumer credit score provider FICO announced Thursday that it has recalibrated its popular FICO Score formula to reflect a “more nuanced way to assess consumer collection information.”
Debt buyer Encore Capital Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ECPG) late Thursday announced that it has acquired Atlantic Credit & Finance (ACF), a leader in collecting fresh, higher-balance accounts, for approximately $70 million in cash. Encore also said it made additional payments totaling approximately $126 million to retire certain indebtedness and obligations of ACF.
LiveVox Inc., the leading provider of cloud contact center solutions for enterprise operations, announced that its In-House Counsel, Mark Mallah, will join audit consultants to discuss the top questions asked and strategies created by today’s ARM contact center leaders in response to TCPA and CFPB pressures. The webinar takes place Wednesday, September 17th at 2:30pm EDT/ 11:30 am PDT.
LiveVox Inc., the leading provider of cloud contact center solutions for enterprise operations, announced that TMC, a global community of communication technology leaders, awarded LiveVox with the 2014 Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award for providing comprehensive cloud-enabled compliance capabilities.
Many debt collection companies record calls to ensure quality and compliance in their operations. This practice has proven a double-edged sword, as it makes agencies possibly vulnerable to liability under state statutes regulating call recording. California’s call recording statute may be the most draconian of all, but that might be changing after a recent ruling.