The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA International) released a statement to combat criticism of a proposed bill by the Obama administration to let private organizations collect rightfully owed debts on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service. ACA International President, Leslie Bender, refuted criticism with a statement highlighting the benefits of such a law and a history of the federal government using private companies to collect debts.
The report claims that the perception of debt collection agencies as dishonest and harassing organizations is false. “It is a myth that responsible debt collectors act in disregard of consumer rights. Portraying the action of a few as efforts of an entire industry creates a woefully inaccurate picture of reality.” She emphasizes that third-party debt collection agency merchant accounts remain open because they recover tens of billions of dollars to sustain America’s credit-based economy.
ACA International, like many other debt collection agency merchant account holders, wants to stop debt collection agencies from engaging in dishonest and harassment-like tactics. Bender then purports that consumer debt collection agencies are more trustworthy than many other agencies because of heavy oversight.
“Consumer debt collection is among the heaviest regulated activities in America by federal, state, and local laws and regulations. The industry is engaged with policymakers to modernize laws and rules for collecting rightfully owed debts,” said Bender
She notes that The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is charged to oversee debt collection agency activity, which means that they will ensure these agencies stay customer focused, and work under consumer financial laws. .
The President of ACA International says consumer or legislative fears that private companies collecting debt on behalf of the public sector have been done before and have failed. She cites the 2006 IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Annual Report, which monitored the success of private organizations that collected on behalf of the government.
“Allegations that the use of private debt collectors in the public sector is a failed experiment are not founded in fact. This report also indicated that of the nearly 19,000 cases assigned to private collectors, only 31 complaints were reported (0.001% of all contacts) and the majority of the complaints dealt with questions about IRS procedures for authenticating taxpayer identity intended to protect privacy.”
ACA International supports legislation that requires the U.S. Department of the Treasury to contract with responsible third-party debt collection services.
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