California DFPI Announces Investigation of a Dozen Debt Collectors

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[author: Amelie Hopkins]

On January 19, 2020, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) launched an investigation ​into a dozen debt collectors potentially engaging in unlawful, unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) under California law.  This represents the first major public action taken under the expanded oversight and enforcement authority of the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL​), which became effective January 1, 2020.​   The law expands the supervisory role and enforcement power of the DFPI, allowing them to oversee previously unregulated financial products and services and to enforce state UDAAP laws against industry participants.

The DFPI served subpoenas on the twelve companies in response to consumer complaints filed against the twelve companies. Consumers asserted that the debt collectors made repeated calls, failed to validate debts, and threatened legal actions for debts the consumers did not owe.  The companies’ responses to the subpoenas, which requested documents concerning how the companies collected debts and communicated with consumers, are due in mid-February​.

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