Not sure if my experience is typical or not I had a fairly good experience when dealing with the US Federal Consumer Protection Bureau (CFPB), MN Department of Commerce, and MN State Attorney General's Office when I was dealing with a shit bag debt collection company and I gather now that all 3 agencies now have an open investigation into them.
The debt collection company was trying to collect a student loan debt from someone who only shared my first name. The collection company started calling and when ever I would answer there wouldn't be anyone on the line. When they would call caller ID would always list the caller as "Toll Free Call" and when looking up the number online I didn't see anything indicating who was calling. When I would answer the phone I would inform them that this is harassment, that they have been told previously to never contact me ever and that I am informing them to never contact me again. I started recording the calls (video recording) and after having them call me multiple times in the same day and being told the line above. After about a week of this and after the day when they called me 4 times and were told I filed a complaint with the MN State Attorney General seeking relief and providing what limited information I had received. A few days later the Attorney General's Office responded and provided detailed information on the company and information on who else I should be filing a complaint about a shit bag debt collection company. Additionally the Attorney General's Office had sent a demand to the company indicating that they were to no longer contact me that also demanded that they respond to an inquery now started by the Attorney General's Office.
So at that point I filed complaints with the CFPB and MN Department of Commerce. A day later I received confirmation that the CFPB had contacted the debt collector and that they were to no longer contact me by phone. Unfortunately the debt collection company disregarded this and continued to call for a couple of more days. This caused me to file additional complaints with the CFPB and MN Department of commerce about their continued harassment at this point as well as forwarding all of this information to the Attorney General's Office. A bit later I get a response through the CFPB from the debt collector in which they provided all of the information they had on the loan including the loan application (this included mother's maiden name, previous addresses current addresses, employer at the time, wage information, social security number, banking information), copy of the person's drivers license, copy of their social security card, and a letter directed to me informing me that I had 7 days to to work out payment details otherwise they would be suing me and seizing my assets. The problem is that the information I provided to the CFPB clearly demonstrated that I was not the actual owner of this debt, which they could have figured out from public records even before hand having never been in the states where the person who the debt belonged to, not ever having a drivers license from that state, having a different middle and last name, having a different birth date (over 15 years different), and attending a different school. In their letter they also indicated that they had no record of me ever answering the phone let alone being told to never call me as well as stating that they never called me after being contacted by the CFPB.
I responded to their letter with one of my own informing them that any attempt to collect this debt from me by them or any other company I will view as an attempt to defraud me and that I would also consider them a co-conspirator in the action and would be filing a criminal complaint. I explained to them that they had broken the law several times including their outright lies and that I had recorded a number of their calls and can provide evidence showing that I had told them multiple times to never contact me in the same day as well as provide evidence of them continuing to call me after being told not to. I also pointed out that their letter is a bold faced lie as I had provided clear evidence that I was not the owner of the debt to the CFPB and that had they done their due diligence I would have never been contacted about this debt in the first place. Finally I informed them that they had also now willfully violated the law as it was clear that I was not the person who owned the debt but yet they decided to disclose information about the debt to an unauthorized 3rd party which was my self. I informed them that I would be providing copies of my letter as well as the information they disclosed to me to the CFPB, MN Department of Commerce, and the MN Attorney General's Office. Finally I stated in my letter that I would only consider this issue resolved if the following conditions were met:
1. I receive a notarized letter apologizing for the whole incident that also clearly states that I am not nor have I ever been the owner of the debt in question
2. The letter be delivered by USPS certified mail with delivery confirmation requiring a signature.
3. That I never be contacted about this issue again in any form by anyone otherwise I will treat it as an attempt to defraud me and I will file a criminal complaint and will name them as a co-conspirator.
4. That they track down the actual owner of the debt and inform them of all of the illegal activities that they have undertaken in an attempt to collect this debt, especially the one where they willfully unlawfully disclosed all of the information about it to an unauthorized 3rd party.
Several days later I received a letter from them meeting demands 1 and 2. The letter no only apologized for the incident but also they admitted that they did the things which is not something I demanded of them. Only time will tell if 3 is met and I really don't care about 4 but that was more of a salt the fields move by me as it makes it clear to the actual owner that the debt is no longer legally collectable. Being the dick I am I also forwarded that letter along to the CFPB, MN Department of Commerce, and MN Attorney General's Office because this company really pissed me off. A few weeks later (within days of each other) I received notification that an active investigation into the debt collector was underway by all 3 agencies.