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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

28 state AGs argue CFPB’s debt collection proposal “falls far short”

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Debt Collection FDCPA State Issues State Attorney General

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On September 18, 28 state attorneys general filed a comment letter in response to the CFPB’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) amending Regulation F to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) (the “Proposed Rule”), urging the Bureau to reconsider the proposal. As previously covered by InfoBytes, on May 7, the CFPB issued the Proposed Rule, which covers debt collection communications and disclosures and addresses related practices by debt collectors. The comment letter argues that, “on the most critical issues, the Proposed Rule falls far short.” Specifically, the AGs assert that the bright-line call limit would not meaningfully reduce calls for the majority of consumers because the limit is placed on the debt, not on the consumer, which “renders any benefits to consumers illusory.” Moreover, because there is no restriction on the number of electronic communications a debt collector can send, the AGs argue that the Proposed Rule would result in a “barrage of emails and texts, and even social media contacts.” In addition to the concerns on contact, the letter, among other things, argues that the Proposed Rule: (i) should require affirmative consent for contact methods outside of phone or mail, as opposed to the opt-out requirements; (ii) should only allow for electronic delivery of validation notices with E-SIGN Act compliance; (iii) should have a strict-liability standard for collections on time-barred debt; and (iv) should apply to first-party creditors, as well as third-party creditors. Lastly, the letter notes the Proposed Rule fails to address a number of other topics, including the substantiation of debt prior to litigation, debt payment allocation, and the additional challenges faced by servicemembers.

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