"In order to be effective, the FDCPA has to have teeth," said Lemberg. "Currently, many debt collection agencies view the penalties for FDCPA violations simply as a cost of doing business; the proposed revisions will help to deter bad behavior."
Stamford, CT (PRWEB) September 30, 2010
Fair debt attorney Sergei Lemberg today announced his support for S. 3888, "The End Debt Collector Abuse Act," and applauded Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and George LeMieux (R-FL) for introducing legislation that would amend the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. "Consumers have been subjected to unprecedented levels of abusive debt collection practices," said Lemberg. "Congress must step in and shore up the FDCPA to further protect consumers against predatory debt collectors."
The proposed legislation would, among other provisions, require debt collection agencies to include basic information in a debt validation notice, such as the last payment date and the amount of debt; documentation of principal, interest, and fees; information about the consumer's rights; and contact information for consumers who have complaints about the debt collector. It would also mandate that debt collection agencies investigate disputed debts. According to Lemberg, "These commonsense provisions address an insidious problem with debt buyers, who essentially treat debt collection as a numbers game. They buy 'junk debt' for pennies on the dollar, and then put the squeeze on consumers who often don't even owe the money. Some debt buyers count on strong-arming a percentage of consumers into paying anyway, and thus walk away with a profit."
Lemberg also commended the bill's provisions to increase the liability limit for violations of the FDCPA. In the time since the FDCPA was enacted in 1977, consumers could recover just $1,000; The End Debt Collector Abuse Act would tie liability to the Consumer Price Index. "In order to be effective, the FDCPA has to have teeth," said Lemberg. "Currently, many debt collection agencies view the penalties for FDCPA violations simply as a cost of doing business; the proposed revisions will help to deter bad behavior."
Lemberg isn't surprised that the debt collection industry is sounding the alarm and preparing to fight Franken's bill, yet notes that this week the industry acknowledged the need to rein in bad players. "In the wake of ABC Nightline's recent expose of the hate speech used by Advanced Call Center Technologies' debt collectors in conjunction with collecting an $81 debt on behalf of Bank of America, along with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's exceptional ongoing series of investigative reports on abusive debt collection practices, the industry is scrambling to avoid what it calls 'headline risk.' I'd urge them to be less concerned about headlines and more concerned about the very real damage suffered by consumers who are victimized by illegal debt collection practices."
Lemberg, who has been targeted by collection industry insider WebRecon LLC, for being the "most active consumer attorney" of the year, said that he intends to offer his full support to Senators Franken and LeMieux. "The End Debt Collector Abuse Act is an important step in protecting consumers, and it should serve as a wake-up call to the debt collection industry," Lemberg concluded.
About Lemberg & Associates, LLC
The attorneys at Lemberg & Associates, LLC are experts in fair debt and lemon law, and practice in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, and Washington, D.C. Sergei Lemberg can brief you about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, remedies available to consumers who are victims of debt collector harassment, and other relevant issues.