A petition has been submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — allegedly signed by 177,000 people — urging the regulator to rescind Regulation F, its debt collection rule. The petition was submitted by Consumer Reports, the advocacy organization, as part of the comment process to the CFPB’s proposal to delay the effective date of Regulation F by 60 days, to Jan. 29, 2022.
“Social media is a venue for sharing memories and stories with friends and family,” the email from Consumer Reports to the CFPB with the petition’s signatures says. “Consumers do not want their social media spaces invaded by unlimited direct messages from debt collectors on debts they may not even owe.”
A number of advocacy groups have used the comment period for the proposal to delay the rule’s effective date to renew their pleas for the CFPB to amend or rescind the rule, which they argue gives collectors too much power over consumers. In a separate comment, Consumer Reports argued that time-barred debts should be uncollectible and that caps on communication attempts should be lowered from what the CFPB has proposed. About 20 comments have been filed so far on the proposal to extend the effective date. For the most part, comments filed by those in the accounts receivable management industry have suggested having the rule go into effect on November 30 as originally scheduled, but delaying an enforcement of the rule for 60 days.
The CFPB has made no comment about the rule other than Acting Director Dave Uejio saying back in February that he wants the Bureau to preserve the “status quo” with respect to the debt collection rule. The rule was issued in two parts in October and December of last year. It was originally scheduled to go into effect on November 30, but the CFPB has proposed pushing that date out by two months to give companies more time to prepare because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The petition signed by the 177,000 people reads:
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should immediately rescind new rules that would allow debt collectors to harass people on their social media accounts – without even confirming first that they actually owe money. Debt collectors should also be required to document that a person actually owes money before trying to collect it. The Bureau’s job is to protect consumers from financial harms and scams, and this rule does the exact opposite.