Home >

November 4, 2015
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Alabama Attorney General
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Page 1 of 2

(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange joined with a nationwide coalition
of federal, state and local agencies today in announcing Operation Collection Protection,
outlining the program’s purpose and the results it already has achieved. The group is working
together to combat illegal debt collection practices.
Led by the Federal Trade Commission, Operation Collection Protection has brought
together for the first time a national coalition of federal, state and local enforcement and
regulatory organizations committed to working cooperatively and devoting greater resources to
address illegal debt collection problems. More than 75 organizations are participating, including
the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Justice, 48 state
attorneys general, 17 state regulatory agencies, one Canadian provincial regulatory agency and
numerous local authorities.
In 2014, consumers filed more than 280,000 complaints nationally with federal
authorities relating to debt collection – more complaints than against any other industry. The
Alabama Attorney General’s Office received at least 261 such complaints in 2014. In recent
years, debt collection has been noted as the second-most prevalent consumer complaint to the
Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
“Consumers deserve for debt collections to be handled in an appropriate and legal
manner,” said Attorney General Strange. “My office is committed to assist consumers who are
suffering from mistreatment in debt collections, and to ensure more fair practices. I urge anyone
who feels they are subjected to illegal debt collections to contact my Consumer Protection
Section by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658, writing to us at 501 Washington Avenue,
Montgomery, Alabama 36104, or through our webpage at www.ago.alabama.gov.”
Operation Collection Protection marks a significant change in how agencies are fighting
illegal debt collection. Together, participants have improved communications and enforcement
coordination, working more effectively as collaborative team members to conduct more than
110 actions that are being announced today.
Through one such action, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office participated in a
national settlement with Chase Bank USA N.A. and Chase Bankcard Services Inc. The
settlement is expected to bring $50 million in compensation to consumers nationwide, and is
estimated to have returned $65,000 to 85 Alabama consumers. The litigation reimbursed just
over $1 million to the State for investigative and attorney costs.
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
www.ago.state.al.us Page 2 of 2

In addition, the Chase settlement mandated comprehensive major reforms for its debt
collection practices, including the following:

  • The agreement required Chase to significantly reform its credit card debt collection practices in
    areas of declarations, collections litigation, debt sales and debt buying. Debt buying involves the
    sale of debt by creditors or other debt owners, often for pennies on the dollar, to buyers who then
    attempt to collect the debt at full value or sell it to other buyers.
  • The agreement required new safeguards to help ensure debt information is accurate and
    inaccurate data is corrected, and provided additional information to consumers who owe debts.
  • It prohibited Chase’s debt buyers from reselling consumer debts to other purchasers, which is
    significant because previously, initial buyers of Chase’s consumer credit card debt could resell
    the debt, the subsequent buyer could flip the debt to another buyer, and the process could repeat
    itself many times over. If initial information about the debt was incorrect or was transmitted with
    errors to a subsequent debt buyer, that could result in long-term harm to the consumer and leave
    the consumer with the difficult or even impossible burden of successfully challenging or
    correcting errors.

Throughout the nation, Operation Collection Protection initiated approximately 118
actions, some of which resulted in debt collectors being barred or suspended; secured more
than $180 million in monetary relief and $300 million in judgments; and brought criminal
charges against 15 defendants.