Many people have heard of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. After all, that important federal law has been around since 1977.
But obviously the means by which people communicate have changed greatly in those 36 years as e-mail, text messages and cellphones have taken hold. It is therefore important for federal regulators who write rules for applying debt collection laws keep those rules current.
That is what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) aims to do. In this post, we will discuss how the CFPB is approaching that task.
The Federal Trade Commission is still involved in debt collection issues. But in the Dodd-Frank Act a few years ago, Congress gave the CFPB the authority to develop new rules for applying the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
These rules are important for people in need of debt relief to be aware of. Regardless of whether you choose to file for bankruptcy, it is good to know where you stand
An example of the type of change that the CFPB may consider is the long-standing rule against a debt collector calling a debtor in the early morning or late evening hours.
In the age of landlines, when the fair debt collection law was drafted, that type of prohibition made sense. Today, however, cellphones are the norm. And it is fairly common for people with cellphones to move to other area codes, creating confusion about what times are too early or too late.
Actually, whether debt collectors should be calling cellphones or sending text messages at all is not entirely clear.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently challenging the actions of a debt collection company that sent text messages to consumers. The FTC contends that consumers did not consent to the transmission of these messages. The companies also failed to provide proper disclosures, according to the FTC.
Source: The New York Times, “Consumer Watchdog Takes Up Debt Collection,” Ann Carrns, Nov. 8, 2013