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Industry groups are working to reform debt collection

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The Baltimore Sun highlighted a significant issue involving the use of the courts by debt buyers to recover consumer debt they have purchased ("A push for more proof in debt-collection lawsuits," July 25).

As the leading voice for credit and debt collection professionals, we want Marylanders to know that ACA International and its affiliate Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association are advocating for reforms to ensure both proper debt documentation and responsible litigation in the collection of consumer debts.

We've outlined in our "Blueprint to Modernize Debt Collection" and in meetings with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau the important need to require creditors to maintain accurate consumer account information and to require that debt collectors and debt purchasers have access to the account information to ensure proper information to address consumers' claims and provide verification of debts when necessary.

We believe the blueprint will also help Marylanders and consumers nationwide in removing unnecessary barriers to effective communication and reducing complaints. We aren't seeking new rights, only clarity of laws governing communications created for a different time and different circumstances.

Consumers deserve respect in debt collection. If contacted by a debt collector, talk to them to understand and seek to resolve the issue — avoiding them won't make the debt disappear.

We are committed to working with the federal government, Maryland's lawmakers, regulators, attorney general and judiciary to create a balanced system for debt collection that allows a vital industry to function and protect consumers.

Patrick J. Morris and Harry Strausser

Mr. Morris is chief executive officer of ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals. Harry Strausser is president of the Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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