Debt collectors generate high level of consumer complaints

Washington consumers are among those most likely to file complaints about debt collection.

Debt collectors trying to collect debt from the wrong person were the top source of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to a report released today by the WashPIRG Foundation. The report comes as the CFPB finishes collecting comments about debt collection in preparation for rulemaking in the industry.

“The CFPB is helping consumers get relief from shoddy debt collector practices,” said Chris Esh, Program Associate with the WashPIRG Foundation. “Many consumers who don’t owe debts are being harassed by lazy debt collectors who don’t verify consumer identities.”

“Regardless of your financial situation, it is important to remember collection agencies have no right to harass or intimidate you,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “Just like the CFPB, the Attorney General’s Office receives a high number of complaints regarding collection agencies. State and federal laws protect consumers from harassing phone calls from debt collectors.

People should always feel free to contact us about abusive collection tactics.”

The report, “Debt Collectors, Debt Complaints: The CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Consumers,” is the final in a series of reports by the WashPIRG Foundation that analyze the complaints in the CFPB’s public Consumer Complaints Database. Since last July, complaints about debt collection have already outpaced those for common products such as credit cards and bank accounts, accounting for the second-largest portion of complaints after mortgages between July and January.

The most common problems were debt collectors trying to collect debt from the wrong person (25 percent) or repeated phone calls (13 percent). The most complained-about debt collection company in Washington state is Encore Capitol Group. They were also found to have received the most complaints nationwide.

For more, go to or contact the state attorney General’s office at


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