The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued its annual Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) report, which provides a comprehensive overview of both the CFPB’s and Federal Trade Commission’s enforcement efforts throughout 2015. The report specifically provides a background of the debt collection market, an overview of consumer complaints, a description of the CFPB’s supervisory and enforcement activities in the debt collection market, and a discussion of the Bureau’s rulemaking activities and the FTC’s policy and research initiatives.
Specifically, with regards to the Bureau’s supervisory activities, the CFPB noted a number of FDCPA violations discovered throughout 2015. During the examination of one or more debt collectors, the CFPB determined that the collectors’ employees did not always state that the calls were from debt collectors and also failed to implement consumer requests regarding communications. The Bureau’s examiners also found that debt collectors made false or misleading representations regarding credit reporting. Specifically, these debt collectors summarily deleted trade lines and failed to conduct investigation of disputes, as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s “Furnisher Rule.”
Additionally, the report states that the CFPB initiated 15 new law enforcement actions in 2015 related to unlawful collection conduct in violation of the FDCPA and/or the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (“CFPA”). Enforcement actions resulted in over $79 million paid into a civil penalty fund and over $260 million in consumer relief.
In light of the Bureau’s report, it is anticipated that focused scrutiny on debt collectors will continue throughout 2016.