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I thought we were just going to ease into the first week of the new year. I was going to ask you about all the weight you lost, you were going to compliment me on how rested I look. It was going to be terrific.

But, you know: this.

The word “overzealous” seems unnecessary. This article is primarily about how consumers can still get some relief — and maybe some cash — out of working the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act angle. “Craige [an attorney] helped Feary [a guy who couldn't pay back a car loan so he declared bankruptcy] avoid the unpleasant calls by filing a lawsuit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In November, the case was closed, with a judge granting Feary $1,000 — the statutory damages amount typically awarded in such a case — as well as payment of his attorney’s fees.”

Mostly, though, the article wants to talk about the new government oversight — via the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — and how it’s a long-overdue benefit to consumers. Mac Finlayson, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, attorney, has a couple of good soundbites:

On What Difference, If Any, the CFPB Will Have: “I think they will have more of a hands-on approach to debt collection than the Federal Trade Commission did, for no other reason than there was so much on the FTC’s plate to begin with.” [Though, as we at can attest: if one of the functions the CFPB is going to govern is adjudicating complaints — well, good luck. The data received is a mess, it’s difficult, often, to know who exactly is being complained about, and we haven’t even gotten to what the term “resolved” is going to mean when all is said and done.]

Will Consumers Benefit From This Governmental Oversight?: “It has everything to do with funding. If they have the funds to hire the people, then they can probably do that. I think probably they’re going to have to act much like the FTC did and react to complaints that are filed.”

Describe For Us Who the “Bad Apples” in the Industry Are, Mac: “There are what I call sweatshops, where you may have 50, 60 people in a room, each one with a telephone or a bank of telephones making collection calls. Those are the people who are driven to do those types of things [i.e., break the law] and say things that aren’t true and be aggressive that step over the line.”

Also, PLEASE do yourself a back-to-work favor and check out the terrific image chosen to illustrate the Urban Tulsa Weekly article. It’s…magic?