On August 2, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it would be extending the public comment period on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to amend Regulation F as part of implementing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The CFPB announced that it is extending the public comment deadline to September 18, 2019.

On May 7, the CFPB issued a NPRM proposing to amend Regulation F, 12 C.F.R. part 1006, to prescribe Federal rules governing the activities of debt collectors, as defined by the FDCPA. The proposed rule seeks to address communications in connection with debt collection, interpret and apply prohibitions on harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices in debt collection, as well as clarify requirements for certain consumer-facing disclosures. Our whitepaper outlining the provisions of the proposed rule can be found here.

The proposed rule seeks to clarify how debt collectors may employ newer communications technologies that have come to exist since the passage of the FDCPA, as well as consumer disclosure requirements. The proposed rule has four subparts, dealing with generally applicable provisions, proposed rules for FDCPA-covered debt collectors, as well as miscellaneous provisions. The bigger changes the NPRM entails include “limited-content messages,” which would identify what information a debt collector must and may include in a message left for consumers, allowing consumers to restrict the channels through which a debt collector may communicate with them, and putting in place a framework for how technologies such as email and text can be used for debt collection, among others.

The initial comment period on the NPRM was set to close on August 19, 2019. However, the CFPB received written requests asking to extend the comment period, including two written requests from consumer advocates and an industry trade group asking that the Bureau extend the comment period by either 60 or 90 days. The requests indicate that the interested parties would use the time to conduct additional outreach to relevant constituencies and to properly address the many questions presented in the NPRM.

In light of balancing interested parties’ desire to have additional time to consider the issues raised in the NPRM, gather data, and prepare their responses, with the Bureau’s interest in proceeding expeditiously with the debt collection rulemaking, the CFPB concluded it was appropriate to grant a 30-day extension of the NPRM comment period to September 18.