Oct. 10, 2013
, the largest trade group for the consumer debt collection industry, today responds to a report issued by the National Consumer Law Center titled:
"No Fresh Start – How States Let Debt Collectors Push Families into Poverty."
Following is a statement from ACA International CEO Pat Morris.
"We take umbrage with the misleading title of this report as it lumps together a broad brush indictment of the entire consumer debt collection industry when, in reality, the report is far more narrowly focused on current state law that applies in extreme circumstances. Throughout its report NCLC simply indicts state laws, not debt collection, and seeks to eliminate the ability of a creditor or debt collector to recover a rightfully owed consumer debt.
The NCLC's report is all splash but woefully lacking of real substance. Instead of focusing on the experience of the typical American consumer, NCLC is focused solely on aiding the financial position of its primary audience - consumer attorneys – and the enactment of its extreme model state legislation.
Within the context of this report and others it has issued, the NCLC neglects to include any mention of the personal responsibility of consumers to do their best to communicate with creditors and debt collectors to seek solutions to their financial concerns. Rather, the NCLC goes right to the lowest common denominator to incite fear - legal action, garnishment and repossession – which are actions of last resort by creditors after all other attempts to work with a consumer to resolve a rightfully owed debt have failed.
Our industry takes its responsibility of working with consumers very seriously. Debt collectors want to work with consumers to find solutions and resolve complaints, which can only be done through communication. When given a chance, the industry has a high rate of success as outlined in the
Council of Better Business Bureau's 2012 report on inquiries and complaint statistics
United States collection agencies resolved 86 percent of the consumer complaints received in 2012; exceeding the national average of 77 percent for all industries.
Further, the NCLC focuses solely on its model legislation while completely missing the very real opportunity to emphasize the growing need for consumer financial literacy, which according to the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
is among the most immediate forms of self-protection – 'being able to avoid problems in the first place and to know what you can do about it when you do experience a problem.' ACA has created a free resource called
which helps consumers get information about their rights when contacted about a debt.
ACA International and its members are supportive of modernizing outdated laws to reflect today's technology and financial environment but believe that common sense solutions preserve balance between consumer protection and the ability of a creditor or debt collector to recover a rightfully owed debt. Our industry has and will continue to work with the CFPB, federal and state regulators, lawmakers and enforcement authorities and advocacy groups to identify reasonable solutions.
The collection of rightfully owed consumer debt is vital to maintaining a healthy credit-based system. By recovering these assets on behalf of businesses, government and non-profit organizations, consumer debt collectors provide immense benefit to the national, state and local economies. In addition, they are
important employers, taxpayers and contributors to the betterment of their communities
ACA International (
) is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and collection industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together nearly 5,000 members in the United States and abroad, and their more than 300,000 employees, representing third-party collection agencies, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates.
Contact: Mark Schiffman, PR Director Tel. (952) 259-2124 or
SOURCE ACA International