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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)

Enforcement

FTC Joins NY and GA in Action Against 3 Collection Agencies

The Primary Group is alleged to have sent consumers multiple text messages, and, in most cases, failing to disclose the company as a debt collector. Per Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection: “[Debt collectors] can’t harass or lie to you, whether they send a text, email, or call you.” She also stated that “legitimate debt collectors know the rules.”

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Victory for ARM Industry in Ninth Circuit Case

Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a 3-0 Opinion (add link) in favor of the ARM industry in an FDCPA case entitled Ninth Circuit Opinion in Diaz v Kubler. The appeal involved a suit by a debtor against a debt collector alleging that by sending a collection letter that sought 10 percent interest on the debt the debt collector violated §1692f(1) of the FDCPA and also California’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the Rosenthal Act).

In Writing

In Writing: What the New West Virigina Updates Mean for Debt Collectors

West Virginia had once been described as one of the most treacherous states within which to conduct debt collection business. Collection agencies were frequently sued by consumers for contact after the consumer alleged to have retained an attorney. Some updates to the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act, however, could offer both clarity and protections for collection agencies.

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CFPB: For Heaven’s Sake Help Consumers Communicate about Their Student Loan Resolution Options

Collectors on the Department of Education contract tell me the same thing. They have so many options for borrowers; if they could only get them on the phone to discuss! Good collectors are counselors, listening to the consumer and finding the right way to resolve issues. And with student loan repayment options as good as they are- these should all be GREAT conversations with good outcomes for the borrower.