In what is likely the most comprehensive comment that will be submitted, ACA International laid out broad support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed debt collection rule, but identified several changes that will “impose significant burdens” without “any quantitative evidence of consumer harm in those areas.”
The 154-page comment covers every area of the proposed rule, going section by section and providing quantitative and qualitative information to help the CFPB design its final rule.
One area that ACA International highlighted as an area of concern was the itemization requirement in the validation notice, especially how it will impact smaller collection agencies. ACA International estimated that complying with the itemization requirement will cost $3 billion and will result in more litigation against collection agencies.
ACA also expressed concerns about areas where collectors could be held liable for things they “should know,” such as whether a consumer’s email address is for work or not, and whether the consumer’s name has a suffix.
“Historically, under the FDCPA, collectors are permitted to rely on the information provided to them by the creditor, and the standard for holding collectors liable is information for what collectors ‘have a reason to know,’ or ‘absent knowledge to the contrary,’ ” ACA wrote in its comment. “Regulations that attempt to increase this standard and ask collection agencies to be mind readers as to the consumer’s private life will drive creditors and collectors towards litigation instead of meaningful communication.”
It is impossible to do the full comment justice in a short article like this, but suffice to say that it appears as though the association has done its job in pointing out the good and bad of the proposed rule.