March 11, 2014

CFPB proposes debt collection survey

March 12, 2014 – The CFPB is requesting comments on its proposed mail survey of consumers on their experiences with the debt collection industry to inform the bureau's rulemaking on debt collection.

The CFPB specifically requests comments on whether the survey information would be useful, whether the proposed survey methods would be effective and how to improve both.

The planned survey questions focus on consumers' past experience with debt collectors, including if and how they have been contacted by collectors, and if they recognized the debt that was being collected. The survey will also try to ascertain the accuracy of the information used by debt collectors regarding consumers. The bureau also hopes to collect suggestions for how debt collectors should contact consumers and what potential regulatory interventions in the industry could be helpful.

In its request to the Office of Management and Budget for the survey, the bureau cited the numerous complaints from consumers on debt collection since the bureau began accepting complaints on the topic in July 2013. The complaints included accounts of harassment and threats of jail time, as well as attempts to collect debts that consumers did not owe.

In February, NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Counsel Angela Meyster urged the CFPB to consider the potential impact on credit unions from its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on debt collection practices, which grouped credit unions collecting their own debt with third-party debt collectors.