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Analyzing New Batch of Proposed Rule Comments, Including Details of Meeting Between Industry Groups and CFPB

A couple dozen more comments have been filed in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to prescribe rules governing the activities of debt collectors, including one that summarizes a meeting held between senior leaders from the credit and collection industry and representatives from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau following the Town Hall discussion in Philadelphia that occurred the day after the proposed rule was released.

For those of you keeping score at home, there have been 40 comments filed so far, and consumers are outnumbering industry by a score of 34 to six. The comment period on the proposed rule is open through August 19.

The details of the meeting, which included representatives from ACA International, RMA International, the National Creditors Bar Exchange, and other industry groups, were summarized in a memo that was submitted as a comment. Among the items that were discussed in the meeting, which included Kathy Kraninger, the CFPB’s director, were:

  • The importance of the limited content message proposed by the CFPB will “likely lead” to fewer phone calls placed by collectors to individuals and offer consumers “more control” to listen to messages at their convenience.
  • Questions about how to differentiate between an individual’s personal and work email, especially when the individual uses both interchangeably.
  • How the CFPB arrived at seven when proposing a limit on the number of call attempts a collector can make during a given time period.

Among some of the more notable or amusing comments that consumers have filed in the past few days are:

When a collection call opens a door to a part of your life you haven’t told your kids about…

“I feel there need to be guidelines for a debt collector being able to send texts and e-mails based on my experiences of having debt collectors contacting members of my family as well as myself. The first incident is having received phone calls for my ex-husband’s current or former wife. I have not been married to my ex for 35 years and they found my name from a name search and they went back 35 years to find my name. I have contacted the agency and told them that I do not know this person but then a few months later, the phone calls start again. They do leave voice mails. Also a problem is that I had not told my children about my former husband, so it is lovely getting these messages. My son has begun receiving calls on our phone as well as his cell phone for a person by the same name and I finally asked them what the date of birth was for the person they are looking for as well as the middle initial of the person. He was 65, my son is 25. He is also getting phone calls for unpaid student loans and we never took out any loans for him. I can only imagine what will happen if they start sending text messages and e-mails when they do not even have the correct information to begin with. There has to be some protections for us in this case.” –Kelly Koehler

What people who pay their bills on time think of the proposed rule…

“It doesn’t matter to me if it passes or not, I pay my bills on time, if I didn’t however, I would simply block the number for text or send the email to spam. I never answer calls from numbers that I don’t recognize anyways.” — Bonnie Duprat

What are the chances this becomes a country and western hit song?

“What I don’t see is anything regarding erroneous contacts. Because I have a common name, I get harrassed a lot by bill collectors for the same bill that is not mine. As a bill gets passed from collector to collector, the knowledge that I am not the person they are looking for is lost. There needs to be a requirement that when a bill collector tries to collect and discovers that a phone number has been recycled or that the person with the same name is not the creditor, that they must document that information and attach it to the bill so that I don’t keep getting harrassed for someone else’s bill. I have received subpoena threats (I told him to bring it on. I’d sue his pants off), multiple calls daily, and other harrassment. It’s bad enough being harrassed for your own bills, it is truly frustrating to get harrassed for someone else’s.” — Alan Jackson

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