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Clock Winds Down on Proposed Rule Comment Period as Advocacy Groups Step Up Efforts

The number of days left to submit a comment related to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to debt collection is now in the single digits and consumer groups have been submitting their thoughts and feelings in droves, but the industry appears to be waiting to the last minute to get their thoughts in. At least, the hope is that the industry is waiting to the last minute and instead not opting to share their thoughts and feelings with the CFPB.

From the outset, consumer advocacy groups have made it clear that they have staunch objections to the provisions of the proposed rule, and those objections have resulted in a series of changes that they would like to see made to the proposed rule, any of which could make it harder for collectors to collect.

To date, more than 8,500 comments have been submitted and published regarding the proposed rule, with the overwhelming majority of them coming from consumers who oppose what the CFPB is proposing.

For example, a pair of advocacy groups — The Oklahoma Policy Institute and the Local Initiatives Support Coalition — submitted comments on Friday, and each of them called for a reduction in the call caps, requiring individuals opt-in to receiving electronic communications, and an outright ban on the collection of time-barred debt.

Instead of the seven calls per debt per week that was proposed by the CFPB, advocacy groups seemed to have settled on a consensus that three attempted calls per week is sufficient. As well, individuals should be able to request collectors stop calling them orally, instead of requiring it to be done in writing.

“This rule, as currently written, does not adequately protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices,” wrote the Oklahoma Policy Institute in its comment. “The Bureau should amend the rule to bring it in line with the Bureau’s mission to ‘educate and empower consumers’ by requiring better notices of consumer rights and better regulating misleading practices commonly used by debt collectors that take advantage of a lack of consumer information.”

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