When it comes to complaints lodged with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about debt collection, the government agency said attempts to collect debt on money that is not owed were the number one complaint.
“Today’s report shows that consumers continue to report being harassed about debts they already repaid or debts they do not owe,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release announcing the results. “The bureau will continue to work to ensure that consumers are not being wrongly pursued by debt collectors.”
According to the CFPB, over a third of complaints, or 39 percent, focused on debt collection had to do with consumers who said they were contacted about paying back debts they no longer owe, with lots of consumers saying they were never given any documentation to prove they owed the money, even after asking for verification. What’s more, the CFPB said consumers also complained their accounts were sent to third-party collectors without getting any notice of the action or the outstanding balance.
In some instances, the consumers said their accounts weren’t even delinquent before being contacted by a third-party collection agency. “Many consumers complained that they are subject to frequent daily calls by debt collectors both at home and at work, even after informing the collector that contact at work was prohibited by their employer,” the CFPB said in the press release. The three companies the bureau received the most average monthly complaints about are Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc., Encore Capital Group and ERC.
The CFPB said, for November, debt collection was the most complained about financial product or service. Of the 23,000 complaints handled by the CFPB in November, 6,730 complaints were about debt collection. The second most complained about consumer product was credit reporting, with 4,138 complaints lodged in November. The third most complained about financial product or service was mortgages, which accounted for 3,954 complaints.