There was a lot that happened in the credit and collection industry during 2019. AccountsRecovery.net has published more than 1,400 articles since New Year’s Day 364 days ago, and while some of them were less-than-awesome (anyone remember this gem), there were a lot of important developments that impacted the industry. Here is a look at the articles and topics that shaped the year in debt collection.
CFPB Releases Proposed Debt Collection Rule (May 7, 2019)
This was the most anticipated development that the industry had been expecting and it probably could not have gone any better. Most of what was included in the proposed rule was something the industry had been asking for, such as provisions about using text messaging or emails when collecting, and while there are some issues (the model validation notice, to name but one), overall, the proposed rule has been very well received and the industry is now anxiously awaiting the release of the final rule, which is expected in 2020.
American Medical Collection Agency, was was the d/b/a of Retrieval-Masters Creditors Bureau, Inc. was the victim of one of the largest data breaches of the year, exposing the personal information of more than 25 million individuals, after an unauthorized individual accessed the agency’s web-based payment portal. By the time the dust had settled, dozens of healthcare organizations were affected and the agency was facing a number of class-action lawsuits and questions from regulators and lawmakers.
Another long-awaited decision, this time from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The case, Lavallee v. Med-1 Solutions, dealt with how collection agencies could communicate with individuals via email. While the appeals court may have ruled that emailing the validation notice does not count as a communication under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the case did set out some clearer guidelines about how collection agencies can communicate with individuals via email.
Regulator Issues Proposed Rule to Address Madden Fix, Codify ‘Valid When Made’ (November 19, 2019)
The settlement in Madden v. Midland Funding ended an eight-year legal battle that had roamed up and down the legal ladder after the plaintiff originally accused the defendant of violating state usury laws when it continued to charge the same interest rate on an unpaid credit card debt that was charged by the original creditor. The settlement would lead to two federal banking regulators issuing a proposed rule to codify the “valid when made” doctrine that would ensure the terms of loans would remain valid after they are sold or transferred.
Washington AG Wants to End Pocket Service of Suits For Unpaid Debts (January 4, 2019)
Washington Governor Signs Two Collection Bills Into Law (May 1, 2019)
At the state level, a new law in Washington that now requires collection agencies file a complaint in state court before serving an individual with a summons was passed with impressive swiftness after the state attorney general identified the practice as one of his initiatives to address at the beginning of the year.