Asset Acceptance, LLC is a massive, publicly traded debt-buying company that buys portfolios of charged-off debts and sues on them all over the country. The Federal Trade Commission came down on it hard by bringing suit against it alleging violations of several federal Acts (FTC, FDCPA, FCRA).
The actual plaintiff in the case was the United States of America on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, this country's consumer protection watchdog and law enforcer.
Click here to read the
federal complaint against Asset Acceptance.
The FTC charged Asset Acceptance with:
- Misrepresenting ownership and validity of debts;
- Failing to disclose that debts too old are legally unenforceable;
- Failing to disclose the fact that partial payment extends the statute of limitations (time in which it could sue for the debt);
- Reporting false information to the credit agencies while knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the information is inaccurate;
- Failing to notify consumers when it provided negative information to credit reporting agencies;
- Failing to conduct reasonable investigations as required when consumers disputed its negatively reported information to the credit bureaus;
- Contacting third parties to harass and intimidate debtors into paying the debt;
- Misrepresenting information about the debt, including its character, amount, and legal status; and
- Failing to verify debts when consumers disputed them in writing.
In the proposed settlement, Asset Acceptance agrees:
- To notify consumers when it cannot sue on debts that are too old;
- To notify consumers when it has furnished negative information to the credit bureaus; and
- To stop making material misrepresentations about debts it cannot back up with valid proof.
The charges brought against Asset Acceptance are nothing new or shocking in the debt buying litigation industry. We see facts to support these claims against debt buying companies every single day. In my opinion, there aren't enough consumer lawyers (especially in New York City) to adequately combat shoddy litigation practices of powerful companies and their high-volume collection law firms that churn out lawsuits on their behalf. But, the little guy gets the benefit of the "strict liability" (automatic liability) nature of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, along with the "fee shifting" nature of that law, which means that the law-breaking debt buyer pays your attorneys' fees for successfully protecting yourself.