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Chase to pay $136 million in fines for illegal debt collection practices and return $50 million to consumers

Chase FullThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is ordering JP Morgan Chase to stop illegal debt collections practices.

Along with the attorneys general in 47 states and the District of Columbia, the bureau found that Chase sold credit card accounts to debt buyers that included amounts that were inaccurate or debts not owed by the consumer, the regulators announced Wednesday. Debt buyers then tried to collect the faulty debts it purchased from Chase.

The bureau is ordering Chase to reform its debt sales practices to prohibit it from selling certain types of debt, such as old or disputed debts and “zombie debt,” which are debts that debt collectors repeatedly attempt to collect, even when it’s not collectible. Chase will also be required to provide documentation to debt buyers when it does sell debts, and its debt buyers can’t re-sell debts they buy from Chase.

Chase also filed more than 528,000 lawsuits against consumers to collect on debts, often using documents that were “robo-signed” and not verified for accuracy. As a result, Chase must refund at least $50 million to consumers, stop collecting on all of these accounts, and include specific information when filing debt collection lawsuits in the future.

Chase must also pay $136 million in penalties and payments to the bureau and states.

Chase is already compensating consumers and will contact you if you are eligible for payment, the bureau said. If you have questions about your eligibility for your refund, or to find out if Chase is prohibited from collecting on your account, you can contact Chase.

Debt collection complaints high

Of all of the complaints the bureau receives from consumers, debt collection is one of the largest categories.

If you don’t recognize a debt from a debt collector, you have certain rights to verify debt. You can send a letter to the debt collector to request more information. If you have a complaint about debt collection, you can submit a complaint online or by calling the bureau at 855-411-2372.

Copyright 2015, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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