The U.S. Department of Education announced late Friday that it would “wind down” its relationship with five private collection agencies on its student loan debt collection contract that ED says were providing inaccurate information to borrowers regarding rehabilitations.
At a symposium in midtown Manhattan Thursday, three representatives from New York City and state financial regulators provided some clarity to recently-enacted rules impacting collection agencies, debt buyers, and collection law firms operating in the state.
The number of lawsuits filed by consumers under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) increased in January compared to the same period in 2014. Lawsuits citing violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) were down in year-over-year comparison. It reverses a trend from the past three years, but 2015 is still young.
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.
Credit card giant American Express last week saw a judge in Illinois deny its motion to dismiss a TCPA class action lawsuit that argues the financial services company is directly liable for damages under the statute even though it did not make the calls in question.
A bill introduced in the New York State Senate last week would make it illegal for debt collectors and original creditors to use social media in their collection efforts. The bill uses vague language in its prohibitions, but its intent is very clear.
The New York Superintendent of Financial Services has released a 16-question FAQ to aid debt collectors, including third-party debt collectors and debt buyers, in adhering to 23 NYCRR 1, a regulation that reforms New York’s debt collection practices.
A federal judge recently noted in an opinion that the FDCPA is not a game, admonishing a consumer and their attorney for bringing a lawsuit against a collection agency. But a recent class action settlement, combined with others similar to it every day, show that the statute is the playing field in a big game between ARM firms and plaintiffs attorneys.
The percentage of Americans with at least one account in the third party debt collection system fell to a post-financial crisis low in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The average balance of accounts in collection also fell for a second straight quarter.
“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