CFPB Releases Report on Fair Debt Collection Practices
March 24, 2020
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released its annual report to Congress on the administration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The report highlights the continued efforts by the Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop unlawful debt collection practices, including vigorous law enforcement, consumer education and public outreach, and policy initiatives.
Additionally, the CFPB announced that it is extending the comment period on its Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) implementing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The SNPRM, which proposed to require debt collectors to make certain disclosures when collecting time-barred debts, provided a 60-day public comment period that was set to close on May 4, 2020. Given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the comment period will be extended to June 5, 2020.
In the report, the Bureau states that it handled approximately 75,200 debt collection complaints related to first-party (creditors collecting on their own debts) and third-party collections. Debt collection is among the most prevalent topics of consumer complaints about financial products or services received by the CFPB.
In 2019, the Bureau engaged in five public enforcement actions, two of which were initiated in years prior to 2019, arising from alleged FDCPA violations. The Bureau resolved two of these cases and obtained partial consent judgments in a third. These judgments ordered nearly $50 million in consumer redress and levied $11.2 million in civil money penalties. The Bureau also banned eight individuals who engaged in serious and repeated violations of law from working in the debt collection industry.
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