CHARLENE CROWELL

CHARLENE CROWELL

If you are one of the 77 million Americans who are hounded each year by debt collectors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  is taking on this $13 billion industry. At a July 28 field hearing in Sacramento, Richard Cordray, CFPB Director, announced the Bureau’s intent to rein in illegal practices that harass and rob consumers.

“Today we are considering proposals that would drastically overhaul the debt collection market. Our rules would apply to third-party debt collectors and to others covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including many debt buyers. . . . The basic principles of the proposals we are considering are grounded in common sense. Companies should not collect debt that is not owed. They should have more reliable information about the debt before they try to collect,” said Director Cordray.

“In the debt collection market, notably,” he continued, “consumers do not have the crucial power of choice over those who do business with them when creditors turn their debts over to third-party collectors. They cannot vote with their feet. They have no say over who collects their debts, and they likely know next to nothing about the collector until they receive a call or a letter. This can quickly lead to a barrage of communications, which in some cases are designed to be harassing or intimidating.”

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