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Senators ask FTC to take a hard look at IRS contractors' methods

July 12, 2017 (Photo Credit: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty)
A recent revelation of the for-profit collection agents contracted by the Internal Revenue Service has led four Senators — Elizabeth Warren, Correy Booker, Ben Cardin and Sherrod Brown — to ask for a review of the call scripts used and their compliance with the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

The FDCPA is under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission and prohibits the use of debt collection practices that are abusive, deceptive or unfair.

The letter to the FTC claims that the highest category of complaints received by the CFPB are those of collection companies. Due to this high volume, the letter asks for a complete and thorough review of the call scripts that were attached by Sept. 1. In addition, the letter asks for answers to a few questions including:

  • Has the FTC conducted reviews of IRS private collector call scripts in the past? What were the results?
  • Have they obtained complaints? If so, how many and what were the natures of these complaints? 
  • Does the FTC actively monitor complaints against private contractors hired by the IRS? 
  • Did the FTC take any action based on complaints received? Were these complaints forwarded to the IRS?
  • Does the FTC work with the IRS or TIGTA to ensure contractors comply with the FDCPA? If so, how?
The call scripts reportedly include implications of threats, violations of privacy protections, and even responses to taxpayer cease and desist requests that are inadequate, violating the FDCPA.

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