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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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Podcast: Do Consumers Need to Show “Concrete” Injury to Sue Debt Collectors?

The Supreme Court decision in Spokeo v. Robins was expected to provide clarity to debt industry defendants facing FDCPA and related consumer lawsuits where the Plaintiffs’ allege no actual harm. Unfortunately, the case did little to specify exactly what type of “concrete” harm a consumer must allege to pursue a claim, but did provide some excellent language that can be used to refute consumer lawsuits where no actual harm is or could be alleged.

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Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Determines that a “Debt Collector” filing a Bankruptcy Court Proof of Claim on a Time-Barred Account is an FDCPA Violation

In an opinion issued yesterday in two consolidated cases, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that “a particular subset of creditors—debt collectors”—may be liable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for bankruptcy Proof of Claim filings on debt they know to be time-barred. Both cases were appeals from decisions from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

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Appeals Court Affirms that FDCPA Does Not Require Debt Collector Intent to Proceed to Trial When Filing Lawsuit

Yesterday the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rendered its opinion in Paula St. John, Yvonne Owusumensah, et al., & Bryan Sirota v. CACH, LLC, Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC; & Unifund CCR Partners, Inc. At issue was whether 15 U.S.C. sec. 1692 e(5) dictates that a debt collector must intend to proceed to trial when it files a lawsuit to collect a debt. The Court agreed with Appellees that e(5) contains no such requirement.

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FTC Warns Industry to Have Robust Credit Reporting Policies and Procedures

FTC Director Jessica Rich’s comments came as part of an announcement by the FTC that it had filed a complaint and proposed order against a Texas-based debt collection agency for having deficient policies and procedures related to borrower credit reporting. Through its proposed order, the FTC clarified its expectations for what credit reporting policies and procedures debt collection agencies need to have in order to avert or withstand regulatory scrutiny.

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Consent Order Compliance: Navigating The CFPB’s Unofficial “Rules” Governing Debt Collection

The CFPB has entered into consent orders with major creditors, debt buyers, and law firms during the past year relating to key areas of their collection practices.  The consent orders impose significant new requirements relating to data integrity, dispute handling, debt substantiation, debt sales, affidavit practices, and litigation practices.  The orders are not formal “rules” […]

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In Sheriff et al. v. Gillie et al. Supreme Court Provides Insight as to Intent and Purpose of the FDCPA

In a unanimous decision issued today, the United States Supreme Court held that private attorneys hired by the Ohio Attorney General to collect debts owed to state agencies were “state officers” otherwise exempt from portions of the FDCPA, and that even if the private attorney didn’t have “state officer” status, using Ohio AG letterhead did not violate the FDCPA.

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U.S. District Court in New York Grants Debt Collector Motion to Certify Important FDCPA Issue for Interlocutory Appeal

In an Order dated May 5, 2016 a Federal Judge in New York has determined that a decision he rendered in the matter of Halberstam v. Global Credit and Collection Corp. (U.S. District Court, ED, NY, 15-cv-5696 (BMC) earlier this year should be certified for an immediate interlocutory appeal. (Editor’s Note: Interlocutory actions are certified by courts when an issue presents a question of law that should be answered by an appellate court before a trial may proceed or to prevent irreparable harm from occurring to a person or property during the pendency of a lawsuit or proceeding. Generally, courts are generally reluctant to make interlocutory orders.)