CFPB Release 4th Annual Fair Debt Collections Practices Act Report

On March 30, 2014 the CFPB released its 4th annual report regarding consumer complaints about debt collection. The report highlighted the most frequently complained about debt collection practices. Most of the practices consumers complained about have been common complaints of debt collection for several years. Specifically, the report highlighted the following practices:

  • Excessive telephone calls;
  • Inconveniently timed phone calls;
  • False threats of litigation;
  • Collectors bringing lawsuits without sufficient documentation to support the claims against the consumer;
  • Unauthorized disclosures to third parties regarding the consumers bad debt; and False and misleading representations by the debt collector.

The FDCPA prohibits collectors from call a consumer at times that are inconvenient to that consumer. For example, if the collector knows the consumer works third shift, a call at 10 am may be considered inconvenient for that customer. Whereas a call at 10 am may not be inconvenient for a consumer working first shift. Additionally, the FDCPA prohibits communicating with anyone other than the debtor or debtors attorney related to the debt. Collectors may communicate with third parties to obtain correct contact information for the debtor, but nothing related to the debt may be shared.

Currently, the FDCPA only applies to third-party collectors; first party collectors are not regulated by federal law. However, first-party collectors should, as a best practice, comply with the FDCPA to ensure they do not commit an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” under the general state consumer protection laws.

If you are just beginning to collect consumer debt or have questions related to collecting debt, please contact Attorney Harrison at aharrison@alharrisonlaw.com or via telephone at 614.440.1395.