Despite indicating that it is still set to publish its final debt collection rules sometime this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a notice in the Federal Register today that it will do further testing of its model validation notice. This round will including conducting "cognitive interviews to assess the effectiveness and validate the performance of the Bureau’s model collection validation notices.”
The main goal of the interviews will be to determine how consumers locate and use the information in the notice. The two specific issues the CFPB will focus on are:
(1) Whether the consumer can locate and use important information effectively, such as information about the debt, information about the consumer's rights, and information about how the consumer may respond if they so choose; and
(2) How consumers view and respond to paper and electronic versions of the model validation notice.
The CPFB is requesting comments—due by July 29—on this new round of testing. The questions to be commented on include the typical questions for information collection, such as whether the information is necessary, the burden of collecting the information, ways to enhance the information collection process, and ways to minimize the burdens of the collection process.
Oddly enough, the Federal Register notice does not include the model validation notices to be tested, so it might be presumed that it will be the same model validation notices the CFPB proposed in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last year. If that is the case, there are some serious issues to consider, such as those addressed in the Consumer Relations Consortium (CRC) comment to the NRPM.
This is also not the first time the Bureau will be testing the model notice. The CFPB conducted an initial round of testing the model notice prior to the NPRM. There were several issues with that round of testing, which are again outlined in CRC and other industry group comments to the NPRM.