The Louisiana Department of Revenue issued a Request for Proposals Thursday for debt collectors to work for the state’s new Office of Debt Recovery on an as-needed basis. ODR would be part of the Department of Revenue, and would be responsible for the collection of delinquent debts on behalf of state agencies.
In what is being touted as the largest TCPA settlement ever, Capital One and three collection agencies have agreed to pay $75.5 million into a settlement fund to end litigation in a combined class action. The agreement admits no wrongdoing on the part of the companies for allegedly using autodialers and/or pre-recorded messages in calls to cell phones without the consumers’ express consent.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Tuesday that it is extending the comment period for its proposal to add consumer narratives to the public complaints database it manages. The proposal would give consumers the chance to explain exactly what lead to a complaint.
A joint study from the think tank Urban Institute and debt buyer Encore Capital Group released today reported that more than 35 percent of U.S. adults with a credit report have accounts that qualify to be in some stage of the debt collection system. The average balance of those accounts is $5,178.
The issue of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s alleged favoritism in rewarding a debt collection contract boiled over on the weekend as his office released official collection totals for last year and a prominent newspaper published a blistering editorial on the matter.
A federal class action lawsuit in Seattle alleges that a collection agency used the King County prosecutor’s seals on debt collection letters to consumers, while failing to disclose that the letter was from a collection agency and not a law enforcement office. The plaintiffs say they received seemingly official letters from Missouri-based collection agency Bounceback which included threats of jail time if consumers didn’t pay the amount of the debt and more than $180 in fees. Bounceback was able to use the county prosecutor’s seal on these collection letters because it participates in a “check enforcement program,” where county prosecutors rent out the prosecutor’s seal and letterhead in exchange for a cut of the collection fees.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act played to packed audiences through two sessions Wednesday at ACA International’s 75th Anniversary Convention & Expo in Chicago. At issues for those in the debt industry are: effective consent language and present capacity.
Gordon Beck, Chief Operating Officer of Diversified Consultants, Inc., based in Jacksonville, Florida, sat for an interview last week with ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. Beck said ABC set out to investigate TCPA lawsuits where companies – including collection agencies – dialed wrong numbers. ABC producers told Beck that he was the only collection agency official that agreed to be interviewed.
Now that the industry has had the chance to take a deeper dive into the details of the New York Department of Financial Services’ proposed regulations for debt collection by third-party debt collectors and debt buyers, experts and organizations are submitting their feedback on how to further improve the regulations. Specific questions remain about the correct language to use in consumer notices, and how the rules may impact creditors.
Larger participants in the debt industry need to prepare for CFPB supervision, and an essential part of that preparation will be to establish a formal compliance management system.