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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted in 1977 to protect consumers from abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices by third-party debt collectors. The law details when and how a collector may contact a debtor. The government enforcer of the law has historically been the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but some regulatory duties may be shared with the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection housed within the Federal Reserve, created in 2010.

The FDCPA is a strict civil liability law, which means that a consumer need not prove actual damages in order to claim statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation plus reasonable attorney fees.

It is commonly believed that the FDCPA will be amended and/or updated in the 112th Congress (2011-2012).

The complete Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (PDF, 326 KB)


Illinois Bill Provides Welcome Fix to Illinois Collection Agency Act

A recent Illinois bill provides a welcome fix to the Illinois Collection Agency Act (ICAA). The legislation, SB 1369, corrects amendments made to the ICAA this past August.  Those amendments potentially expanded sections of the ICAA to commercial debt and would require disclosures contrary to (and possibly in violation of) the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The […]

signed agreement settlement

Judge Accepts $59 Million Settlement in Sykes vs. Mel S. Harris and Associates, Pending Fairness Hearing

Court documents were filed yesterday, preliminarily approving the class action settlements in Monique Sykes, et al., vs. Mel S. Harris and Associates, LLC, et al. A Fairness Hearing has been scheduled for May 11, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case is a class-action lawsuit originally certified […]


New Jersey Debt Collection Bill Requiring ‘Good Faith’ Identity Theft Determinations Passes Senate

A New Jersey Senate bill introduced in 2014 relating to debt collectors’ responsibilities upon receipt of notice of identity theft or misidentification crossed over to the Assembly this week. The bill adopts the FDCPA’s definition of “debt,” but strays in its definition of “debt collector” which includes, in part, “any person who by any direct or indirect action, conduct, or practice, collects or attempts to collect a debt that is owed or due or asserted to be owed or due from a consumer in this State.”

Shattered Glass

Consumer Litigation “Continues to Evolve in Lurches”: Your October Debt Collection Stats

FDCPA suits “unexpectedly [caught] fire this year, up more than 1200 suits (+14.5%) over this time in 2014,” according to Gordon. FCRA suits “works out to a dramatic +39% increase over this time last year,” and “TCPA’s YTD numbers have recovered due to the combination of a strong October and a weak few months at the end of 2014. Now up almost 200 suits (+8.7%) over this time last year, TCPA seems to have avoided the likelihood of a decline.” But none of this should be a surprise, so why is it?

Big Mistake

Big Mistake! Three Compliance Risks Collectors Overlook

Regulators from the CFPB and the FTC encourage the debt industry to look at past enforcement actions and other publications to determine what issues are most important to those agencies. A review of the recent enforcement actions by the CFPB and FTC, as well as other publications, reveal three distinct trends: actions involving unfair treatment of service members; the failure of debt collectors to adequately distinguish and investigate FDCPA and FCRA disputes; and, racial bias in debt collection efforts.


Are We Closer to Understanding ‘Meaningful Involvement’? Bock v. Pressler & Pressler May Show the Way

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument in the case of Bock v. Pressler & Pressler. Observers saw this as a significant case, with far-reaching impact upon attorneys who engage in debt collection litigation. From the tone of the Circuit Court’s questions, it was clear that policy consideration were at the center of the Court’s focus.