The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Ask CFPB” website updated its FAQ this summer for consumers seeking answers and agency over the debt collection industry.

What does this mean for the collection industry? The CFPB is making it clear that part of its strategy in enforcing compliance in the debt collection industry is to make sure consumers are aware of their rights.

While the advice from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is geared at, well, consumers – that doesn’t mean it isn’t an effective compliance tool for agencies, too. The new advice gives debt collection companies the chance to be proactive when addressing consumer complaints. If you provide the best company information and outreach, you’re more likely to avoid legal headaches. It can also help consumers communicate effectively with debt collection companies and fight the growing problem of debt collection scams.

Whether a complaint comes from a consumer or the agency itself, consequences can include lawsuits, fines or the shuttering of your business.

We have compiled the full list of the CFPB’s Q&A on consumer debt in one document and organized it by topic as a convenience. Links have been maintained so you can access future updates at any time.

What can you do with this information?

• Incorporate this excellent resource into your collector training program.

• Review these responses with your compliance program in mind. Do your training, operational, and on-going audit procedures address all of the relevant matters addressed in the Q&A?

• Post some of the most relevant Q&As to your firm on your website, and/or link directly to them on the CFPB site. Offering a resource on your website that mirrors/references the CFPB itself can be a great way to show the public that you are on board with consumer protection. Perhaps even a brochure that can be mailed or emailed to your customers would be appropriate in some circumstances.

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