Debt collection trainings a big success

Williams and Santiago conducted training on Debt Collection in Pennsylvania
Published: Monday, June 05, 2017

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported that in in 2016 it handled a whopping 88,000 debt collection complaints from consumers! According to the Bureau’s report on debt collection, the most common debt collection complaints involved collectors attempting to collect a debt that the consumer reported was not owed. Issues with disclosures or providing information sufficient to verify the debt were the second most common type of complaint consumers made. Communication tactics used when collecting debts, specifically improper and repeated telephone calls, were the third most common complaint.

When Consumer Action recently trained Ohio and Pennsylvania community groups on the Debt Collection: Know Your Rights module, it made sure to highlight the debt collection issues outlined in the CFPB’s report. Consumer Action trainers Nelson Santiago and Linda Williams also demonstrated to the staff of community-based organizations how their clients could exercise the powerful rights afforded them under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

During the Pennsylvania training, attorneys Scott Torguson, with The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, OH, and Robert Taylor, with Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc., were on hand to discuss their respective state’s debt collection laws and other issues like statutes of limitation surrounding debts. The attorneys also pointed out how their state laws related to the federal FDCPA.

Kathleen Seminatore, an investigator with the Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs in Akron, OH, attended and evaluated the training, saying: “My overall experience of the seminar training was very good. It gave me a better understanding of debt collection rights, and the presentations gave me some very useful tools to use in my job as a consumer affairs investigator. Williams’ presentation was informative, engaging and kept me focused.”

She added that she particularly enjoyed it when Williams and Santiago gave attendees a quiz to gauge their knowledge of debt and collections.

“I am looking forward to using that type of approach at my next financial literacy presentation workshop as well, outlining the three strategies Williams outlined for dealing with debt collection: Verify the debt, verify the collector and fight back against unethical collectors,” Seminatore said.

Sharon Butler-McCray, a certified educator of personal finance from Ohio, attended the training as well and shared her experience, calling the workshop “phenomenal,” and adding, “It provided not only helpful information in working with clients plagued with problems encompassing debt collection, but also insightful resources to hone my skill sets as a trainer and counselor in aiding populations in protecting their consumer rights. I know the training will assist me in empowering others, as I felt empowered as a result of the training.”

If you’re interested in accessing this free training module, click here for the Debt Collection: Know Your Rights lesson plan and class activities and here for the companion PowerPoint slides.




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