In its annual FDCPA report to Congress released on March 20, 2014, the CFPB stated that the industry continues to be plagued by aggressive collection tactics and inaccurate record-keeping. According to the Bureau, since it began receiving consumer complaints about the industry in July, it has received more than 30,000 complaints concerning debt collection practices.
Consumer complaints covered a broad range of practices that debt collections firms should remain mindful as they refine their compliance practices in response to the CFPB’s focus on the industry. Approximately one-third of the comments involved consumers that claimed that they did not owe the amount that the collections agency was seeking to collect. Another quarter of the complaints stemmed from “aggressive tactics” such as multiple phone calls to the wrong number or making calls outside the 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. window allowed by the FDCPA. The third largest category of debt collector complaints (14%) was a result of illegal threats of jail or other penalties. The industry should expect consumer complaints to play an important role in the Bureau’s supervision and enforcement activity as well as its FDCPA rulemaking.
Director Cordray vowed to “continue to work hard to ensure that consumers are treated with dignity and fairness.” The report comes on the heels of the CFPB closing the comment period for the Announced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under the FDCPA where nearly 20,000 responses were submitted to the Bureau.
Final FDPCA rules are expected later this year or in early 2015.