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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted in 1977 to protect consumers from abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices by third-party debt collectors. The law details when and how a collector may contact a debtor. The government enforcer of the law has historically been the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but some regulatory duties may be shared with the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection housed within the Federal Reserve, created in 2010.

The FDCPA is a strict civil liability law, which means that a consumer need not prove actual damages in order to claim statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation plus reasonable attorney fees.

It is commonly believed that the FDCPA will be amended and/or updated in the 112th Congress (2011-2012).

The complete Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (PDF, 326 KB)


President of FMA Alliance Shares Experience at Debt Collection SBREFA Hearing

FMA Alliance was honored to be selected to participate last Thursday on the CFPB’s historic Small Business Review  Panel (SBREFA) for debt collection rulemaking in Washington D.C.  I represented FMA Alliance, along with 19 other Small Entity Representatives (SERs), to provide advice, input, and recommendations regarding the outline of proposed debt collection rules.  The CFPB […]


Creditor Rights Law Firms Well-Represented on CFPB’s Small Business Review Panel

As the only law firm small entity representative (SER) to participate in a second SBREFA panel, I came to the process with a certain level of comfort, but with preconceived notions of how the process would unfold. While the process was similar, the overall feel of the panel that convened on August 25, 2016 to engage the CFPB on Debt Collector and Debt Buyer Rulemaking was very different.


The “Least Sophisticated Debtor” Is Getting More Sophisticated, And Has An Improved Memory Too

When collectors get sued in an FDCPA action, they face a steep uphill battle. Courts apply the very pro-consumer “least sophisticated debtor” standard when evaluating a collector’s communications, and most violations of the Act are “strict liability.” However, courts have gradually been demanding more and have rejected suits based on hyper-technicalities.


Court Affirms Dismissal of Crawford Case for FDCPA ‘Time-Barred’ Proof of Claim, Case Was Itself ‘Time-Barred’

This article was originally published on the Maurice Wutscher blog and is republished here with permission. On July 10, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued its opinion in Crawford v. LVNV Funding, LLC. That opinion began by decrying the “deluge” of proofs of claim filed by debt buyers on debts that are unenforceable […]


7th Cir. Deepens Split on FDCPA Liability for ‘Time-Barred’ Claims

This article was originally published on the Maurice Wutscher blog and is republished here with permission. Filing a proof of claim with a bankruptcy court representing a debt subject to an expired state law limitations period does not violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) under an opinion released yesterday from the Seventh Circuit Court […]


FDCPA Safe Harbor Buried within CFPB Mortgage Rules

On August 4, 2016 the CFPB released a rule providing safe harbors from liability under the FDCPA for certain actions taken in compliance with mortgage servicing rules, but after the consumer has made a cease communication request. This will interest the ARM industry more broadly as it may signal a willingness to provide safe harbor where notification requirements are in conflict with the consumer’s interests.


Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules – Failure to Specifically State “This Communication is From a Debt Collector” is Not FDCPA Violation

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a decision from a district court in a bench trial that a collection law firm had violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by failure to specifically state in a voice message: “This communication is from a debt collector.” The case is Davis v. […]