28 State AGs File Comment Asking CFPB to ‘Reconsider’ Proposed Debt Collection Rule

A group of more than two dozen state attorneys general, including one who is a Republican, submitted a comment urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to “reconsider” its proposed debt collection rule, saying, “on each of the most significant issues affecting consumers in the Proposed Rule, the CFPB elevates the interests of the debt collection industry over consumers.”

Saying that “deception and abuse” are “widespread” in the collection industry, the state AGs wrote that the proposed rule “disregards the CFPB’s statutory mandate to protect consumers from an industry with a well-documented history of misconduct.”

Of the 28 state AGs who signed the letter, 27 were Democrats. The lone Republican to sign was Lawrence Wasden, the attorney general of Idaho.

Among the issues raised by the AGs in their comment are:

  • Reducing the call cap to three times during a seven-day period, regardless of how many debts are trying to be recovered, and not being allowed to call a consumer for seven days after a collector has had a conversation with a consumer.
  • Requiring consumers to opt-in to receiving collection notices via email or text messaging, and expanding the call cap requirement to all forms of communication.
  • Prohibiting collectors from being able to contact consumers via social media.
  • Getting rid of the limited content message altogether.
  • Enacting a strict liability statute for the collection of time-barred debt.
  • Ensuring meaningful attorney involvement in collection lawsuits.
  • Developing a rule that applies to both first- and third-party collectors.

“On issue after issue, the Proposed Rule places the interests of debt collectors over the interests of consumers, upending the careful balance Congress created in the FDCPA and Dodd-Frank between lawful debt collection and consumer protection and privacy,” the AGs wrote.

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