Many people have bad experiences with debt collectors and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) wants to hear about them. They are preparing to update the rules that govern how debt collectors communicate with borrowers and they are seeking information from both debt collection companies and consumer advocates to help them prepare the new rules. Their goal is to better protect consumers while not limiting legitimate debt collection activities.
Since the recent recession, debt collection has become a bigger problem. Many people have lost their jobs or their homes and are having difficulty paying their bills. There are an estimated 30 million people who have at least one debt that has gone to collection with an average of $1,400 per person.
The CFPB had started receiving complaints about debt collectors; more complaints that about any other financial product this bureau covers, including credit cards and private student loans. Complaints about debt collectors include having collectors trying to collect on debt that the consumer has already paid off, or collect on a debt that was never owed in the first place. The new rules the bureau wants to put in place would apply to all sorts of debt, including debt from medical bills, which frequently end up going to collections due to the complexities of health insurance billing.
Third-party debt collectors are already barred from harassing and abusing consumers under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). However, the CFPB had been given the authority to issue new rules to update the law and address new concerns that have come up. The CFPB now has primary responsibility for the FDCPA even though it shares responsibility for enforcement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FDCPA predates the use of cellphones and texting. This makes restrictions confusing if a consumer moves to an area code in a different time zone but retain their old phone number, making it difficult for debt collectors to know when they can call without violating the FDCPA. However, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has evolved a little faster and provides for additional protections, even for unwanted text messages.
Additionally, calling cell phones raises privacy issues since they allow debt collectors to reach consumers while they are in public, unlike landlines which are restricted to use in the privacy of a person’s home. The CFPB’s proposed rulemaking is intended to modernize the legal framework that governs debt collection and fill in these ambiguous areas of the law.
Our experienced attorneys here at Krohn and Moss Consumer Law Center have also provided many helpful resources regarding the FDCPA and how debt collectors should act. We have been successfully representing those abused and taken advantage of by debt collectors for years, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 or visit our website at http://www.krohnandmoss.com/.