John Bedard: “I would like to suggest that we remove this concept of manually dialing. Just because you use your fingers to dial a phone number does not mean that the TCPA does not regulate the call you’re making. This question remains timely, because every consumer and every consumer lawyer is going to accuse your machine of being a dialer because of the language of this ruling.”
As part of an ongoing investigation, Propublica published a lengthy article by Paul Kiel titled For Nebraska’s Poor, Get Sick and Get Sued. The article discusses the practice of use of litigation to collect delinquent healthcare accounts in the State of Nebraska. It is clear that Mr. Kiel spent a considerable amount of time researching the story before publication. The story is less than flattering to the debt collection industry.
Yesterday the White House hosted a call together with the Dept. of ED and the CFPB to announce actions to ensure that student loan borrowers are aware of their options for repayment. The actions are wide-ranging, but don’t address material post-default issues.
Portfolio Recovery Associates will pay $18 million to resolve multidistrict litigation accusing the debt collection company of violating the TCPA by making autodialed phone calls to consumers without their consent, according to documents filed Monday in California federal court.
Yesterday the CFPB announced that a New Jersey law firm and a debt purchasing company had agreed to pay $2.5 million in response to the agency’s assertions regarding the filing of “mass-produced” lawsuits. The law firm, Pressler & Pressler, issued a strong response, noting that no restitution or invalidation of judgments was required in the agreement, and that the settlement is not about laws or rules that are currently in place.
This case provides interesting perspective on how a settlement was apparently reached fairly quickly and efficiently in a TCPA case. Also of note is the fairly broad definition of the Settlement Class.
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.”
The requirements for what debt collectors are required to provide in “snail mail” notices to consumers arises from a patchwork of Federal, State and local laws — as well as case law that often varies by jurisdiction — and many of the requirements are antiquated, dating back to the 1970s. Unfortunately, these dated and contradictory collection letter requirements continue to result in lawsuits and adverse Court decisions against debt collectors.
Online lenders’ use of ACH networks to request payments can result in mounting fees and even account closure for borrowers with insufficient funds. That’s according to a new study from the CFPB, which took a look at the ACH behavior of lenders who, per the Bureau, make “online payday or other high-cost online loans with payments scheduled on a borrower’s payday.”
Is the online lending industry growing up? One fintech CEO suggested as much last week at LendIt 2016, the online lending industry’s big annual conference in San Francisco. And that maturity may well rest on the industry’s ability to confront collections and regulation.