Debt-buying giant Encore Capital Group has announced it expanded its Consumer Bill of Rights to identify customers on active military duty, thus halting all collections on their accounts.

The company’s Bill of Rights is a formal declaration of business practices aligned with the company's "consumer-focused principled intent". These practices include: treating consumers with dignity and respect; providing hardship and forgiveness guidelines; offering collection practices that promote settlement with dignity; and protecting the security and confidentiality of consumers' information.

The Bill of Rights, according to company officials, include provisions for maximizing consumer understanding of their obligations, enhanced consumer disclosures, a debt validation period that goes beyond the current legal requirement, a grace period before commencing credit reporting of debt and other new elements. "As a leader in the debt purchasing industry in the United States, we believe it is important to publicly state our guiding principles regarding how we interact with consumers," said Ken Vecchione, Encore’s president and CEO. "Our objective is to treat every consumer with whom we interact with dignity and respect, and we believe our industry-leading approach enhances our interactions with consumers in numerous ways. We educate every employee extensively on the Consumer Bill of Rights, in an effort to make each consumer interaction a productive and respectful one." Based in San Diego, Encore is a publicly traded NASDAQ Global Select company and a component stock of the Russell 2000, the S&P Small Cap 600 and the Wilshire 4500.    

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