Holding a license and keeping it current are no longer enough to pass muster. Many states now conduct extensive audits of collection agencies, law firms and debt buyers who are communicating with consumers living within their borders. The states continue to evaluate and expand the laws governing this activity.
The Federal Trade Commission and Florida’s Attorney General have joined forces to cease the operations of an “Orlando-based operation that has been bombarding consumers since 2011 with massive robocall campaigns designed to trick them into paying up-front for worthless credit card interest rate reduction programs.” And no, it’s not Disney.
Designing and implementing strong internal controls are important to the ARM industry but how about physical controls? Baker Tilly’s latest blog looks at the ins and outs of security and physical controls.
Whether it is your hiring team checking backgrounds, your operations team making sure every call can pass the compliance test, your sales team vetting clients to ensure they aren’t asking for non-compliant activity, or, at the very head of the process, your Board of Directors setting policy and requiring compliance throughout your organization; everyone must be committed to compliance for it to truly be a culture.
Editor’s note: While this may seem like a sports story, it’s really an excellent lesson in data security for any firm. And yet it’s accessible because it’s, well, a sports story …with some intrigue.
Yesterday, the CFPB announced an enforcement action against a medical debt collection company for mishandling consumer credit reporting disputes and preventing consumers from exercising important debt collection rights. The company is ordered to provide over $5.4 million in relief to harmed consumers, and pay a $500,000 penalty. At the core is a lack of adequate policies and procedures.
When discussing debt collection, word choices in the report were interesting. The Bureau noted that “Many companies in the industry play by the rules.” Not “Most” companies play by the rules. Clearly the ARM industry has not yet convinced the CFPB that most companies do, in fact, play by the rules.
Higher education remains the primary expected next step for graduating high school seniors. And while some have argued that tuition rates are slowing, tuition debt itself continues to run laps around other prices. Can a photographer take the sting out of the shame of debt?
Attorney General Schneiderman’s philosophy, specifically relating to the NYS Debt Collection Law and Rules, is that by providing a clear framework, it will make things easier for those legitimate companies, and significantly more challenging for those not interested in playing by the rules.
Charging convenience fees: should you or shouldn’t you? The practice might be the next battleground for the debt collection industry. As with many regulations, there are more questions than answers — and the answers that are available aren’t to everyone’s liking. Join attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin, of Moss & Barnett, to get another point of view on fees and debt collection.