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Letters to the Editor: The feds are failing to protect us from unscrupulous debt collectors

A past-due bill with a purse
An FTC settlement with a debt-collection company over its “debt parking” practices does not go far enough, some critics say.
(David Gould / Getty Images)

To the editor: Thanks to columnist David Lazarus for shedding light on “debt parking,” one of many illegal practices used by debt collectors to increase profits by stomping on consumers’ rights.

While I do not expect debt collectors to care about consumers, I do expect this from the Federal Trade Commission. In what world does the FTC’s settlement with Midwest Recovery Services (MRS) protect consumers?

Sure, it shakes a finger at MRS and instructs it to stop breaking the law, but MRS leaders Brandon M. Tumber, Kenny W. Conway and Joseph H. Smith are permitted to remain in the debt collection industry. Even worse, the FTC agreed to a suspended judgment against MRS, meaning the consumers harmed by the company’s bad acts will see no recovery.

This settlement might provide a nice soundbite, but it fails to meaningfully punish illegal behavior or protect consumers from the same. I, for one, am tired of this soundbite governance. Stop giving me pretty press releases, and start showing me your ability to take measured actions intended to benefit the American people.

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In the meantime, if this is what the FTC’s protection looks like, I think I’ll look out for myself.

Jennifer Popp, San Diego


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