FTC Settled With Debt Collector Asset Acceptance

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, AM | Leave Comment

Media reports that one of the biggest debt collectors in the land of the free settled for the amount of $2.5 million with the Federal Trade Commission. Asset Acceptance committed deception and outright lied to the American public. FTC said on January 30, 2012 that Michigan-based Asset Acceptance agreed to the penalty and to changes in the way it collects debt.

The company is in the business to buy unpaid debts from credit card companies, utilities, health clubs and others – in many cases for pennies on the dollar. Millions of folks’ accounts have gone to different debt collectors. The original creditors wash their hands off the debt.

Deceptive Methods

The FTC alleged that Asset Acceptance tried to collect debt in some cases that wasn’t even owed. In other cases, the FTC says the company told consumers they owed a debt that may have been too old to collect because it was past the statute of limitations.

In the case when statute of limitations has expired but you are not aware of it, don’t make a payment because once you do, the statute of limitations starts the clock on the debt from the beginning. That allows collectors to take legal action.

Asset Acceptance has tens of millions of accounts

FTC says because of the millions of accounts that Asset Acceptance handles every year makes harder for the federal agency to pursue the company in all cases. The agency is unable to determine how many accounts are similar to the ones Asset Acceptance was charged with.

The problem with us consumers is that we don’t know the law and thus we do not know our legal rights with respect to collection of old debts past the statute of limitations.

Asset Acceptance was told…

Without admitting to any wrong doing by Asset Acceptance of the FTC’s claims, both sides settled for the amount of $2.5 million and the company will pay the civil fine to settle deception allegations.

  • Asset Acceptance will be obligated to tell consumers, because of the expiration of the statute of limitations, that it won’t sue to collect on that debt.

  • The company also will be barred from informing the three consumers’ credit agencies without informing the consumer about the negative report.

In a Nutshell
I suggest everyone of us, more than 200 million folks need to go to law school, or at least take a couple of courses that deal with nothing else but consumers’ laws, to fight these deceptions against our financial life. That might not be very practical even though damn necessary.

The reason I am saying this is that FTC by its own admission is helpless to pursue every case for the lack of more man power. The time the statute of limitations expires is different from one state to another.

By the way, Asset Acceptance should change its name to Asset Deception.

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