On January 11, the CFPB and a debt-collection law firm it sued in 2019 for illegal debt-collection practices reached settlement. The CFPB included in its initial complaint against the defendant allegations that the law firm falsely represented to consumers that attorneys were actively engaged in overseeing and filing lawsuits, while in a two year period, such law firm employed less than a dozen attorneys and filed more than 99,000 debt-collection lawsuits with minimal supporting documentation. The CFPB alleged this was a violation of the CFPA and FDCPA, which prohibits collecting debts by using false, deceptive, or misleading representations. If the proposed settlement order is entered by the court, it would require that the law firm to:
On September 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an order in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc. dismissing the case after determining that plaintiff failed to allege a concrete harm, and thus lacked standing to sue the debt collector for its use of a third-party mail vendor in connection with its debt collection activities (we discussed this case in a previous blog post here).
Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Dismisses Debt Collection Letter Case For Lack of Standing
On July 15, the California DFPI released draft text for a proposed second rulemaking under the Debt Collection Licensing Act (DCLA) relating to the scope, annual report, and bond amount increase provisions of the DCLA.
Continue Reading DFPI Second Rulemaking Proposal on Debt Collection Licensing
On June 29, the CFPB issued an advisory opinion affirming that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Regulation F prohibit debt collectors from collecting pay-to-pay or “convenience fees” imposed for making a payment in a particular way, such as by phone or online, when such fees are not expressly authorized by the underlying agreement or otherwise permitted by law. In interpreting FDCPA Section 808, the Bureau’s advisory opinion explains that:
Continue Reading CFPB Advisory Opinion: Pay-to-Pay, “Convenience” Fees Prohibited by FDCPA
On May 23, the CFPB and the New York Attorney General’s office filed a proposed stipulated judgment in federal district court against a debt collection operation, including several companies and individuals, to resolve allegations that the operation engaged in deceptive tactics to induce consumer payments. The complaint, filed in 2020, alleged that the defendants violated the CFPA, FDCPA, and various New York laws to induce consumer payments by (i) falsely claiming arrest and imprisonment for failure to pay, (ii) falsely threatening legal action, (iii) inflating debt amounts owed, (iv) harassing debt collection victims by contacting family members, coworkers, employers, and friends, (v) placing harassing phone calls to debtors, and (vi) failing to provide statutorily required notices.
Continue Reading CFPB, NY Reach $4M Settlement with Debt Collection Operation
On April 15, the CFPB and FTC announced the release of a joint annual report to Congress administering the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The annual report highlights both agencies’ efforts to protect and provide debt collection relief to consumers, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic hardship. …
Continue Reading CFPB Signals Foray into Protecting Small Businesses from Abusive Debt Collectors