The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released its long-awaited Outline of Proposed Rules governing third-party debt collectors. The proposal, released in advance of today’s 2:00 PM EDT CFPB Debt Collection Field Hearing in McClellan Park, California, is 117 pages and covers a wide range of topics that had been raised nearly three years ago […]
Debt collection letters continue to provide an expansive target for FDCPA and related lawsuits due to the panoply of Federal and State disclosure requirements for such letters. Further, the Court cases interpreting these requirements are in constant flux and new decisions sometimes contradict previous rulings. In a rare win for the collection industry, a recent case out of the Eastern District of New York rejected a consumer’s FDCPA claims brought in a putative class action and premised on language included in a collection letter. What does this bode for the industry?
The Seventh Circuit’s ruling stems from three consumers that brought suit against three debt collection agencies for violating the FDCPA’s broad prohibition on false, deceptive or misleading representations threatening to take action that collectors do not intend to actually take. 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(5). In each case, the agency had previously filed suit against the consumer in state court. The consumers argued in their lawsuits, however, that the suits against them violated the FDCPA because the agencies never had the intention of proceeding to trial; rather, the consumers alleged that the suits were brought solely to obtain a default judgment or settlement. The proof, the consumers argued, was the fact that each debt collector later moved for voluntary dismissal of their lawsuits.
The CFPB intends for its consent orders to set industry-wide precedents. In March 2016, CFPB Director Richard Cordray referred to consent orders as a guide “to all participants in the marketplace to avoid similar violations and make an immediate effort to correct any such improper practices,” telling the Consumer Bankers Association that any company not following the precedents set by the CFPB’s consent orders is committing “compliance malpractice.”
Two attorneys — one for collections, one for consumers — talk through urgency channels, convenience fees, and due dates. It’s another example of how language that, on the surface, seems helpful and clarifying for a collection agency, can also be seen as deceptive, by a consumer attorney, to the Least Sophisticated Consumer.
Yesterday Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testified before the Senate Committee on Finance. Among many topics addressed in this hearing was the recently passed FAST Act provision to reinstate the use of private debt collectors within the IRS, which has a requirement that contracts be signed by early next month. Koskinen said he would miss that deadline.
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia – January 26, 2016 – Consumers, creditors, and the economy as a whole benefit from the existence of the professional debt collection industry, according to the newest white paper from ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals. The white paper “The Role of Third-Party Debt Collection in the U.S. Economy” explores the industry’s role in the U.S. economy,focusing on how third-party debt collectors work in tandem with creditors and […]
A federal judge in Indianapolis has ruled that a lawsuit alleging violations of the FDCPA and the United States Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (“RICO”) against Sherman Financial Group, one of the country’s largest debt buyers, cannot proceed as a class action because circumstances vary too much among the class members. Assuming this decision withstands any subsequent appeal it appears that Sherman made a good decision to vigorously defend the case.
Bulletins from the CFPB often function as rule-making, even though bulletins aren’t technically the way the CFPB conducts rule-making. Both bulletins and consent orders, though, should be viewed by all in the industry as the “writing on the wall,” so to speak. They show the agency’s current line of thinking, and give those companies in the debt industry a map of compliance.
In this episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin identify challenges arising from industry regulators and from the Courts while providing specific guidance on how best to avoid difficulties. Specifically: Regulators and Litigation.