One of the attendees at a book talk last week in Buffalo had an interesting question. With scammers operating so widely as collectors, the question was, wouldn't the collection industry actually benefit from tighter regulation and enforcement?
I had just finished making my argument for national licensing and bonding of 3rd party collection agencies and higher penalties under the FDCPA. Last I heard, the collection industry and ACA International were not calling for tighter regulation of the industry. But I agree with the premise of the question, that legitimate agencies would be better off if the noncompliant ones were more effectively dealt with. I think agencies are concerned about facing yet more regulations, and I agree that there are enough rules to protect debtors and consumers already. The problem is a lack of effective enforcement. As the debt buying industry accounts for more and more collection work, it seems like the compliant collection offices will have a more and more difficult time matching the returns of competitors who will say anything to squeeze money out of people.