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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)

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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

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Collection Agency Seeking Circuit Court Rehearing in Pivotal FDCPA Time-Barred Debt Settlement Case

A collection agency that saw a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision go against it last month has filed a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc with the Court. The case involved a settlement offer on a time-barred account. The collector initially won the case and the Sixth Circuit reversed that ruling in a split decision that carried a strong dissent.

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FTC Sends Annual FDCPA Enforcement Letter to CFPB Filled with Detail

The FTC said Monday that it has sent its annual letter to the CFPB detailing the Commission’s efforts to regulate the debt collection industry through its implementation of the FDCPA. In addition to detail on enforcement actions taken in 2014, the letter reveals the FTC’s participation in the debt collection rulemaking process as well as legal positions articulated in amicus briefs last year.