Last month, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that revisions to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) are being considered in order to “provide consumers with clear protections against harassment debt collectors and straightforward options to address or dispute debts.” The most recent proposal calls for a number of changes to the FDCPA, but has recently received pushback from a number of senators.
Summary of Proposed Changes from the CFPB website
- “Establish a clear rule limiting call attempts and telephone conversation- The proposed rule generally would limit debt collectors to no more than seven attempts by telephone per week to reach a consumer about a specific debt. Once a telephone conversation between the debt collector and consumer takes place, the debt collector must wait at least a week before calling the consumer again.” - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- “Clarify consumer protection requirements for certain consumer-facing debt collection disclosures - The proposed rule would require debt collectors to send consumers a disclosure with certain information about the debt and related consumer protections. This information would include, for example, an itemization of the debt and plain-language information about how a consumer may respond to a collection attempt, including by disputing the debt. The proposal would require the disclosure to include a “tear-off” that consumers could send back to the debt collector to respond to the collection attempt.” - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- “Clarify how debt collectors can communicate with consumers - The proposed rule would clarify how debt collectors may lawfully use newer communication technologies, such as voicemails, emails and text messages, to communicate with consumers and would protect consumers who do not wish to receive such communications by, among other things, allowing them to unsubscribe to future communications through these methods. The proposed rule would also clarify how collectors may provide required disclosures electronically. In addition, if consumers want to limit ways debt collectors contact them, for example at a specific telephone number, while they are at work, or during certain hours, the rule clarifies how consumers may easily do so. “ - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- “Prohibit suits and threats of suit on time-barred debts and require communication before credit reporting - The proposed rule would prohibit a debt collector from suing or threatening to sue a consumer to collect a debt if the debt collector knows or should know that the statute of limitations has expired. The proposed rule also would prohibit a debt collector from furnishing information about a debt to a consumer reporting agency unless the debt collector has communicated about the debt to the consumer, such as by sending the consumer a letter.” - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Response Letter from Senators
A letter from more than 20 senators was sent earlier this week in response to the proposed changes. The response raises a number of concerns, including fear for consumers who do not have unlimited texting or who some type of a pay-per-text plan. A statement from the letter reads “Furthermore, since the CFPB is not requiring collectors to use free-to-end-user text messaging, the CFPB is placing the cost burden of these text messages on the consumer.” It also points out that there is little protection relating to the use of email and hyperlinks, and this could increase the number of online security threats to consumers. The full letter can be found using the Link to the article from USA Today.
There have not been any official changes to the FDCPA.
- News Report on the CFPB Website: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/bureau-proposes-regulations-implement-fair-debt-collection-practices-act/
- 538-Page Official Proposal: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_debt-collection-NPRM.pdf
- Response and letter to the CFPB via USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/06/06/debt-collection-senators-write-cfpb-letter-objecting-proposal/1361365001/
We will update this blog after if any changes are made to the FDCPA .
If you or a loved one is having difficulty dealing with debt, call Castle Law Office at 816-842-6200 to speak with an attorney about bankruptcy. You can also email us and schedule your free consultation.