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Abbie Miller On 4th Apr,16
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CFPB ensures even creditors stay fair with debt collection

The United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finally puts tools in the hands of consumers to help them communicate with the debt collectors on legal terms. The CFPB announced on July 10 that it will now be accepting consumer complaints regarding illegal debt collection practices. The bureau will also publish action letters to guide the consumers regarding how to correspond with their debt collectors.

July 9 saw the Federal Trade Commission charge Expert Global Solutions and its subsidiaries for illegal debt collection tactics. A civil penalty of $3.2 million was imposed on the world's largest debt collection agency. The new steps have been initiated by the CFPB on the next day only. It presumably acts like a warning bell for the debt collectors who cross the legal limits in their attempt to collect on the outstanding dues from consumers.

Bulletins

The CFPB published bulletins regarding the the unfair collection practices and announced that all debt collection companies serving under the Bureau jurisdiction will be penalized if they're found to practice abusive, deceptive and unfair collection methods. The bulletin highlights certain practices and specifically mentions them to be illegal which includes misrepresentation and falsification of information, debt amount or account status. Use of threats during the collection attempts are also prohibited, especially if the collectors are not authorized to take up those actions. Failure to post the timely payments or credit to the consumer's account and then charging the consumer for their own fault will also be subjected to penalization. The best part this new bulletin emphasizes on is that, even the creditors have to abide by these mandates along with the collection agencies.

The bulletins can be found at :

Action letters for consumers

The CFPB also published five action letters keeping in mind the difficulties or situations that consumers face when corresponding with their debt collectors or creditors. The letters can be used by the consumers in the following situations:

  1. When the consumer wants to verify the debt or wants specific information about his debt before he starts paying for it.
  2. When the consumer wants to dispute the debt or wants the collector to prove the debt before continuing with the collection attempts.
  3. When the consumer wants to specify convenient time and place for the debt collectors to contact him.
  4. When the consumer wants a lawyer to act on his behalf.
  5. When the consumer wants the debt collectors to cease the collection attempts and stop any form of communication with him.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB will thus be dealing with the consumers directly and receive complaints from them regarding illegal and unfair collection attempts. Apart from debt collection complaints, the Bureau also invites consumer complaints regarding any form of consumer debt like credit card debts, auto loans, mortgages, students loans and medical bills. It also deals with consumer grievances regarding bank services and accounts, credit reporting or money transfer issues.

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