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FDCPA

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)

Envelope on Fire

Is Your Envelope “Benign” Under The FDCPA?

There has been a lot of litigation relating to envelopes recently, but section 1692f(8) of the FDCPA, which regulates collection envelopes, is not new. It has been a source of frustration for collectors for decades. Fortunately, some courts have recognized that a strict application of section 1692f(8) may lead to absurd results, and have held that “benign language” on an envelope does not violate the FDCPA. Unfortunately, the word “benign” can be VERY slippery.

eating-popcorn

Collection Law Firm Uses Recent Ruling Against CFPB to Bolster FDCPA Enforcement Defense

A federal judge in Indiana last week dismissed part of an enforcement action brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) against a for-profit college under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) because TILA actions are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. A collection law firm currently embroiled in a nasty legal fight with the CFPB jumped on the opportunity to note that the FDCPA carries similar restrictions.

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Court Expands FDCPA’s “Least Sophisticated” Standard to Include Attorneys

A long-established exception to the FDCPA’s “least sophisticated consumer” standard has been communications with consumers’ attorneys. Because how could it be argued that an attorney is not “sophisticated?” But a recent Circuit Court ruling opened new ground on that front when it found that some communications with attorneys should be held to the standard.

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The FDCPA “is not a game, and its purpose is not to provide a business opportunity” says District Judge

“This case…goes beyond anything that the Court has seen. It represents a deliberate and transparent attempt by a sophisticated debtor to entrap a collection company into a technical violation. Even more problematically, plaintiff chose to bring this action even though there is a tape recording showing that the attempt at entrapment utterly failed.” — Judge Brian M. Cogan