Consumer Bankers Association comments on CFPB’s proposed debt collection rule

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The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) has filed a letter commenting on the CFPB’s proposed debt collection rule.  Ballard Spahr served as counsel to the CBA in preparing the comment letter.

In the letter, the CBA urges the Bureau to make various revisions and clarifications to the proposal, including the following:

  • Taking the following steps to remove any uncertainty about the potential application of the final rule to creditors: (1) rely solely on the Bureau’s FDCPA authority for all provisions of the final rule, (2) include an explicit statement in the final rule that it is not intended to apply, and should not be applied, to creditors and servicers not covered by the FDCPA, and (3) state that the definition of “debt collector” in the final rule is not intended to expand the FDCPA’s coverage to creditors and servicers.
  • Making clear that the proposal’s telephone call frequency limits are not designed or suited for application to creditors, and that a creditor’s telephone contacts should be evaluated for harassment based on the facts and circumstances of each case under UDAAP principles rather than a “one-size-fits-all” frequency limit.
  • Treating work email addresses and telephone numbers and non-work email addresses and telephone numbers the same for purposes of the proposal’s safe harbor from liability for unintentional third-party disclosure and prohibition on communications using an email address provided to the consumer by the consumer’s employer.
  • Reconsidering the practicability of requiring a “know or reason to know” standard for assessing whether an email address is a work or non-work address and for the reasonable procedures required for debt collectors to “confirm” that a telephone number is not work-provided.
  • Requiring consumers to designate specific days and times as inconvenient in order to trigger a debt collector’s obligation not to initiate contact at those times.
  • Defining the “original creditor” as used in the proposal’s requirement for a debt collector to provide the identity of the “original creditor” to consumers, upon request, and in the proposal’s itemization requirement to mean the creditor at the time of charge off.
  • Including voicemail in the proposal’s safe harbor from liability for unintentional third-party disclosure.
  • Allowing debt collectors to disregard disputes submitted by debt relief companies for purposes of a debt collector’s obligation to respond to a consumer’s written dispute

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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