Alert February 19, 2013

FTC Releases Annual Report on FDCPA Enforcement

The FTC published its annual letter to the CFPB summarizing its Fair Debt Collection Procedures Act enforcement efforts over the past year. The FTC noted that it takes a three-pronged approach to FDCPA enforcement: (1) legal enforcement; (2) consumer education; and (3) research. Over the past year, the FTC brought and/or resolved seven debt collection actions, covering areas such as debt collector misconduct, phantom debt collection—the attempt to collect non-existent debt or debt that is not owned by the collector, and submitting amicus briefs (see e.g., April 3, 2012 Alert). Under the second prong, the FTC created two consumer-based websites—consumer.ftc.gov, which provides articles and guidance on all aspects of debt collection, and consumer.gov, which was developed to provide basic information to consumers with low literacy levels. The letter also discussed the FTC’s research efforts, including its most recent report on the debt buyer industry (see February 5, 2013 Alert).