The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced on Tuesday (May 7) that it has introduced a proposal to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
In a press release, the government watchdog agency said the Fair Debt Collection Protection Act provides consumers with clear protections from harassment by debt collectors. It also lays out straightforward options to address or dispute debts.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is designed to set clear limits on the number of calls debt collectors can place to reach a consumer on a weekly basis, to clarify how collectors can communicate using technologies such as voicemail, emails and text messages, and to require collectors to provide additional information to help consumers identify debts and respond to attempts to collect on those debts.
“The Bureau is taking the next step in the rulemaking process to ensure we have clear rules of the road where consumers know their rights and debt collectors know their limitations,” said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger in the press release. “As the CFPB moves to modernize the legal regime for debt collection, we are keenly interested in hearing all views so that we can develop a final rule that takes into account the feedback received.”
Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the CFPB has the authority to issue substantive rules to interpret the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act. The CFPB said it is seeking public comments on the proposed rules.
Debt collections have been the second largest generator of consumer complaints to the CFPB since it added them to its complaint database in June of 2013. Mortgages have dominated the top spot since the database was rolled out in 2012. One-third of all complaints in 2017 were about debt collections. Consumers complain about agencies hounding them day and night, threatening their relatives and harassing them at work.