Saying that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s upcoming debt collection rules still will allow collectors to harass debtors, the National Consumer Law Center is calling on states to become more aggressive in protecting consumers.
CFPB officials said Friday they will allow controversial debt collection rules to go into effect as scheduled on Nov. 30. The agency had issued a proposed rule that would have delayed the effective date to Jan. 29, 2022.
“The CFPB indicated that it can still revisit the rules in the future, and we urge them to do so,” said National Consumer Law Center staff attorney April Kuehnhoff. “In the meantime, we call on states to enact additional protections to prevent vulnerable families still recovering from the pandemic from harassing and abusive debt collection practices.”
The NCLC and other consumer groups have raised concerns about practices they say still will be allowed under the rules.
For instance, they said, collectors could make up to seven phone calls per week per debt to a consumer or to friends and family in an effort to gain the consumer’s contact information.
Collectors also would be able to use electronic communications to contact consumers unless they opt out of receiving messages that way, they said.
Since the CFPB rules cover third-party debt collectors, they will not have a direct impact on credit unions. However, some credit unions hire debt collectors, and they will be affected by the rules.