Recent news has been filled with reports of Senator Sherrod Brown’s efforts to push the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to crack down on debt collection practices. More than 30 million American consumers have debts in collection, but there are serious concerns about the accuracy of the alleged claims, not to mention practices employed by third party debt collectors and debt buyers.
Brown points out that it’s been nearly 35 years since the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed, yet debt collection abuses are still rampant. Brown’s requests are ambitious but entirely reasonable. In fact, if we knew a little less about this industry the abuses that are routinely tolerated, it would be shocking that some of these restrictions weren’t already in effect. Brown’s most recent letter to Richard Cordray asks that the CFPB create/enforce regulations that would:
- Require that debt collectors, whether primary creditors or third party collectors, hold all relevant documentation before issuing their first debt collection notice to the consumer.
- Require that information on prior collection attempts travel with the debt.
- Prohibit the sale of unverifiable debts.
- Eliminate the sale or collection of time-barred debt.
- Issue updated guidance for consumer dispute procedures reflecting the new technological possibilities for documented consumer disputes.
- Prohibit manipulative issuances of credit products in exchange for the payment of debts.
Unfortunately, Brown’s wish list is just that. As in so many other areas of consumer protection, we as consumer attorneys find ourselves as the primary line of defense between the public and the industries that feed on them. To give you the tools to fight that battle, we’ve teamed up with whistle blower Linda Almonte to bring you a brand-new seminar on litigating bogus debt buyer claims. The event will take place June 29-30 in Shelby, North Carolina.