Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Takes Action Against Debt Collection Law Firm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against a debt collection law firm, Frederick J. Hanna & Associates (Frederick Hanna).  The suit alleges that the debt collection firm spent less than a minute reviewing each of the credit card collection cases.  More than 350,000 cases were filed by the law firm, and many of the individuals targeted owed nothing or less than the amounts claimed.  Individuals targeted in similar suits as those filed by Frederick Hanna, often do not appear for the court cases.  As a result, many cases end in a default judgment, which can be difficult to correct, allowing the debt collector to garnish wages or put a lien on property.
The lawsuit filed by CFPB indicates that CFPB may be looking into other debt collection law firms, where claims are out of date, have incorrect amounts, and do not include the necessary documentation to back up the claims. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ACE Cash Express

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that ACE Cash Express (ACE) used illegal debt collection practices to pressure borrowers who were overdue on their payments.  The illegal debt collection practices included false threats of lawsuits or criminal prosecution and harassment.

ACE offers payday loans, cash advances, check-cashing services and other consumer financial services.  The debt collectors at ACE were harassing consumers with collection calls, and telling borrowers that they would be sued or criminally prosecuted if they did not make payments.  In addition, ACE’s debt collectors told consumers that they would be reported to credit reporting agencies and charged additional fees, even though ACE’s debt collectors are not authorized to do so.  The debt collectors used these tactics to coerce consumers into borrowing more money and paying more fees.

The CFPB has the authority to take action against debt collectors under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act.  ACE is required to end its deceptive collection practices and will pay a $5 million penalty and $5 million in refunds to borrowers.