March 20, 2014

CFPB raps improper debt collection attempts

March 21, 2014 – The CFPB issued a report Thursday on the more than 30,000 consumer complaints about debt collection it has received, including complaints from consumers being "hounded" by debt collectors for debts they do not owe.

The bureau, which recently concluded a comment period on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on debt collection, also cited complaints about aggressive communication tactics and threats of illegal actions such as the arrest of consumers.

Bureau Director Richard Cordray said, "Consumers should never be hounded about debts they do not owe. We will not tolerate companies harassing consumers or threatening illegal actions in the debt collection market. We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers are treated with dignity and fairness."

The bureau put together the report for Congress after collecting complaints on the subject since July 2013. It also said that companies have responded to roughly 82 percent of the complaints received as of December

In a speech on Wednesday, CFPB Deputy Director Steve Antonakes noted that making sure debt collectors are acting on accurate information is a high priority for the bureau in its rulemaking.

In a Feb. 28 comment letter, NAFCU urged the CFPB to distinguish between credit unions collecting on their own behalf and third-party debt collectors in its regulatory efforts. In stark contrast to the violations cited in the report, when credit unions collect on their own obligations, they work to continue to support their relationships with their members.