Congressman Anthony Brindisi released a public letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today as it relates to Spectrum and a Plano, Texas, debt collection company they have partnered with named Credit Management L.P. Brindisi.
“Fighting Spectrum on rising rates also includes making sure they can’t use debt collection as another money-making tactic,” said Brindisi.“And the only way to get to the bottom of this is for the CFPB to ask the questions I outline in my letter.”
Brindisi, no stranger to fighting with Spectrum, is calling on the CFPB to investigate Spectrum’s debt collection practices. The CFPB routinely conducts oversight of business practices on behalf of consumers.
Last year, Brindisi brought his fight with Spectrum to the halls of Congress. The first bill he introduced, the Transparency for Cable Consumers Act, would provide better oversight of cable and internet providers and hold companies accountable that are fined by a state Public Service Commission like Spectrum. In November, Brindisi slammed the cable company in a district-wide opinion piece outlining his dogged efforts to hold the cable company accountable regardless of the consequences in Washington. Brindisi also launched a district-wide survey of home internet speeds and services. Local residents interested in participating in the survey can visit Brindisi.house.gov/internet to test their internet speeds, rate their internet provider, and share customer service stories.
“A consumer should not be sent to a debt collector, without warning, for a missing remote control. That is both unfair and a sneaky way Spectrum might be padding its bottom line, which would be unacceptable, worthy of investigation and potentially in violation of federal rules,” Brindisi added.
Brindisi urged constituents being contacted by Credit Management L.P., on behalf of Spectrum, to call his office at 315-732-0713. His public letter to CFBP Director Kathy Kraninger appears below:
Kathy Kraninger, Director
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
1700 G St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20552
Dear Director Kraninger:
I write today to urge the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to probe the debt collection practices of Charter Communications (using the brand name “Spectrum”) and their collection partner, Credit Management L.P.
It has come to my attention that customers are being contacted by this Spectrum-contracted debt collector as it relates to the canceling of their Spectrum cable and/or internet service. After believing they had paid their final bill in full and returned their equipment, customers are finding themselves face-to-face with this unknown debt collector from Plano, Texas.
One former Spectrum customer learned from Credit Management L.P. that they owed over $100 long after amicably ending their service. Spectrum never notified this customer they owed a penny. Instead, they sent them to collections, potentially damaging their credit rating and giving up their social security number and other personal information.
Spectrum also appears to be tying “debt” collection via Credit Management L.P. to “equipment” as opposed to normal non-payment for services. Some customers have stated that months after canceling their Spectrum service and returning what they believed to be all their equipment, they have been contacted by Credit Management L.P. for “debt” related to “lost” equipment. Unaware that anything was amiss with their account, some customers are being given to collections by Spectrum for missing a remote control they may have already returned.
The Better Business Bureau has logged hundreds of complaints about Credit Management L.P. Many of these complaints have been about their debt collection practices related to cable and internet companies. Customers have specifically named Spectrum and other cable companies as the source of the erroneous debt.
Based on these concerns, I am asking the CFPB to launch an inquiry into Spectrum, other cable companies, Credit Management L.P., and their debt collection practices. The CFPB should determine:
- The extent to which Credit Management L.P. is contacting customers on behalf of cable companies to collect on debts stemming from services already paid-for and equipment already returned;
- The extent to which Credit Management L.P. is attempting to collect on debts stemming from equipment, as opposed to non-payment for services;
- Where these debt collection practices are most prevalent, and if certain regions of the country are being unfairly targeted;
- How Spectrum and Credit Management L.P. are handling the personal information of customers, including social security numbers and other identifying data; and
- Whether collection practices related to Spectrum and other cable companies violate federal law.
A copy of this letter is being sent to the House Financial Services Committee in the hopes they might consider a hearing on the debt collection practices of cable companies like Spectrum and their partnerships with collection firms like Credit Management L.P.
Should you require further information or desire to speak with me, please contact my office at 315-732-0713.
Member of Congress