ACA International, the trade group that represents collection agencies, is disputing a government report about consumer complaints.

ACA, of Minneapolis, said that the Federal Trade Commission's annual report to Congress on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, released last week, used a flawed methodology to evaluate the third-party collection industry.

"We agree with the FTC about the importance of consumer protection from debt collectors who engage in deceptive, unfair or abusive collection practices," Rozanne Andersen, ACA's chief executive, said in a press release Monday. "But, respectfully, by counting solely the number of consumer complaints without verification of whether they were actually illegal or a violation of the FDCPA, or whether the complaints were resolved, only tells a small part of the real story."

According to the Council of Better Business Bureaus' annual report on complaint resolution released in March, the collection industry resolved 85% of the complaints it received in 2009, compared with the average of 73.8% among all industries tracked by the BBB.

"We are proud of our rate for complaint resolution, but we are pushing ourselves to do better," Andersen said. "That's why ACA is resolved to continue working with the FTC, state attorneys general, regulators and others to better assess consumer complaints and ensure that, as an industry, we better understand and diligently address them."

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