Consumer advocates are now starting to detail their concerns with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed debt collection rule and are detailing the changes they would like to see made.
Advocates have not hidden their displeasure with the provisions of the proposed rule since it was released last week. Whether in press releases, articles in the mainstream media, or at last week’s Town Hall meeting in Philadelphia to discuss the rule, advocates have decried what they feel is a lack of consumer protections in the proposed rule.
There really appears to be no aspect of the proposed rule that advocates are happy with.
The seven call weekly cap — per consumer, per debt — on attempted communications is too high, for example. Advocates want that number dropped to three attempts per week. But, as Jan Steiger, Executive Director of RMA International mentioned at the Town Hall last week, many accounts that are placed with agencies or sold include multiple phone numbers, and it could take weeks of trying different numbers before a collector finds a good contact number for an individual.
The proposed rule also gives consumers the right to opt out of receiving any kind of communication, including emails and text messages. But advocates want those kinds of communications only to be allowed when an individual opts in, instead.
The Limited Content message, which would not be considered a communication under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, is also a problem for advocates. Advocates want all communications to be subject to the FDCPA.
The cherry on the top of the sundae is that advocates want a prohibition against collecting any debt where the statute of limitations has expired.
While the comment period has not officially opened, the industry needs to be ready to voice their support for the provisions of the proposed rule they want to keep. You can bet advocates are going to be drumming up comments to make sure the CFPB knows just how unhappy they are. And this is a face-off that the industry does not want to lose.