Repairing A Broken System: Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration

By: Jon Leibowitz et al. Published by: Federal Trade Commission. Published in July 2010.

Link to report

Link to PDF

In this article, the Federal Trade Commission conducted a series of roundtables on debt collection litigation.

Highlights include:

  • States should consider adopting measures to make it more likely that consumers will defend in litigation. Very few consumers defend or otherwise participate in debt collection litigation, resulting in courts entering default judgment against them.
  • States should take steps to ensure that: (1) consumers receive adequate notice when actions have been commenced; and (2) the costs to consumers of participating in such actions are not prohibitively high.
  • States should require collectors to include more information about the debt in their complaints. Complaints often do not contain sufficient information to allow consumers in their answers to admit or deny the allegations and assert affirmative defenses.
  • To assist them in doing so, states should consider requiring that debt collection complaints include: (1) the name of the original creditor and the last four digits of the original account number; (2) the date of default or charge-off and the amount due at that time; (3) the name of the current owner of the debt; (4) the total amount currently owed on the debt; (5) the total amount owed broken down by principal, interest, and fees; and (6) the relevant terms of the underlying credit contract, if the contract itself is not attached to the complaint.

Categories: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Consumer, Consumer/finance, Individual Rights, Legal Aid Practitioners, National, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics

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