Pennsylvania-based NCO Group, one of the nation’s largest debt-collection firms, has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by reporting inaccurate information about consumer accounts to credit bureaus. The amount is the largest civil penalty ever obtained in a FCRA case, according to the FTC, which announced the agreement today.

NCO companies violated a section of the fair credit reporting act that requires entities to report the actual month and year when an account first became delinquent when they to credit bureaus that a delinquent consumer account has been placed for collection or written off, according to the FTC’s complaint. Credit bureaus use that date to measure the maximum seven-year reporting period the FCRA mandates. The rule helps ensure that debts that are beyond this seven-year reporting period don’t appear on a consumer’s credit report. Violations of the rule are subject to civil penalties of $2,500 per violation.

The FTC charged that NCO reported accounts using later-than-actual delinquency dates, an action that could cause consumers’ credit scores to be lowered and possibly result in their rejection for credit or having to pay a higher interest rate.

The proposed consent decree orders NCO to pay civil penalties of $1.5 million and permanently bars the companies from reporting later-than-actual delinquency dates to credit bureaus. The agreement also requires NCO to implement a program to monitor all complaints received to ensure that reporting errors are corrected quickly and contains standard recordkeeping and other requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring compliance.

The U.S. Justice Department filed this matter May 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania at the FTC’s request. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the company has violated the law and the stipulated final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of guilt, the FTC stated.


Send tips or a letter to the editor to or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 124.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription