CFPB, FTC report to Congress on enforcement of fair debt collection practices; bureau notes 3 cases active

A report to Congress on actions taken in 2019 under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was issued Friday by the Consumer Financial Protection bureau (CFPB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the two agencies that share authority to enforce the statute.

The 2020 annual FDCPA report also provides snapshots on debt collection market segments, revenue structures, and types of complaints and how companies responded to them.

This annual FDCPA report says the CFPB handled approximately 75,200 debt collection complaints related to first-party (creditors collecting on their own debts) and third-party collections. The bureau notes that debt collection is among the most prevalent topics of consumer complaints it has received about financial products or services.

The report notes that the bureau in 2019 engaged in five public enforcement actions – two of which were initiated in earlier years – arising from alleged FDCPA violations. The bureau resolved two of these cases and obtained partial consent judgments in a third. These judgments ordered nearly $50 million in consumer redress and levied $11.2 million in civil money penalties. The CFPB also notes that it banned eight individuals who engaged in serious and repeated violations of law from working in the debt collection industry. The remaining three cases are in active litigation.

In the report, the FTC states that it filed or resolved law enforcement actions against 25 defendants and obtained more than $24.7 million in judgments. The commission also banned 23 companies and individuals that engaged in serious and repeated violations of law from ever working in debt collection again, it said.

The CFPB and the FTC in January 2012 entered into a memorandum of understanding that provides for coordination in enforcement, sharing of supervisory information and consumer complaints, and collaboration on consumer education. The two agencies signed a new, permanent MOU on Feb. 25, 2019. The report says this MOU facilitates consultation in rulemaking, enables coordination in enforcement, sharing of supervisory information and consumer complaints, and collaboration on consumer education.

The CBPB on Friday also announced an extension of the public comment period on its supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) implementing the FDCPA. Comments had been due May 4; the comment deadline is now set for June 5.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Report on 2019 Administration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; Announces Extension of Comment Period

RR: Citing pandemic, bureau extends comment period on ‘time-barred debt’ proposal (March 20, 2020)

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