WASHINGTON – By design, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was formed to protect consumers from unscrupulous financial acts and unethical collection practices.
A recent proposal submitted by the CFPB would give debt collectors the green light to email and text debtors endlessly – and with little oversight.
Under the Trump administration, the once consumer-focused agency has slowly switched sides. Kathy Kraninger, the fearless leader of the Bureau, has already taken steps to roll back payday lending regulations and looks to “level the playing field” with her proposed amendment to Regulation F, 12 CFR part 1006.
Debt collectors have been operating in an area of FDCPA considered “grey”. Current rules allow collection agencies to use reasonable methods to contact debtors, yet digital mediums had been all but disregarded.
If this resolution passes, emails and texts will be much easier – and in some cases cheaper – for debt collectors who normally used snail mail to communicate their intention to collect debts. Instead of sending thousands of letters each month, collection agencies can send millions of emails simultaneously.
FDCPA laws allow consumers to take action if they are contacted late at night, at work, if
Opening the door for debt collectors to invade private email addresses could lead to other social channels to be used, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn
CFPB data shows 81,500 complaints were logged regarding debt collectors and their practices in 2018, easily making debt collection the number one consumer complaint. If enacted, an inevitable war between consumer advocates and debt collectors will ensue.
Voice Your Opinion About This Proposed CFPB rule
According to the CFPB, the public may submit written comments on the proposed rule changes using any of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
- Email: 2019-NPRM-DebtCollection@cfpb.gov. Include Docket No. CFPB-2019-0022 or RIN 3170-AA41 in the subject line of the email.
- Snail Mail: Comment Intake – Debt Collection, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20552.
- In Person/Courier: Comment Intake – Debt Collection, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20552.
They will judiciously weigh comments received before a final regulation is issued.