01/19/17 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released a report on debt collection, finding that consumers feel threatened when contacted by debt collectors.
The CFPB report provides an in-depth analysis of consumers’ encounters with the debt collection industry. Consumers were asked about their encounters with debt collectors for loans and unpaid bills. Questions included whether consumers had been contacted by debt collectors in the past year, how frequently, and the nature of the debt.
According to the CFPB debt collection survey, about one-third of consumers – or more than 70 million Americans – were contacted by a creditor or debt collector about a debt in the previous 12 months. Consumers are most often contacted about medical and credit card debt. The CFPB survey also found that:
- Over one-in-four consumers report threatening contact;
- Three-in-four consumers report that debt collectors did not honor a request to cease contact;
- More than half of consumers report incorrect contact for at least one debt;
- Over one-third of consumers report being contacted at inconvenient times;
- Nearly 40 percent of consumers report that a debt collector attempted contact four or more times per week; and
- One-in-seven consumers contacted about a debt report being sued.
The Bureau has also released a white paper highlighting potential risks to consumers’ personal information posed by debt sales online. The report is based on a Bureau review of 298 portfolios of debt that surfaced among three online marketplaces the Bureau monitored between January and August 2015.