In the United States a variety of laws at both the federal and state levels regulate consumer affairs. Some examples include the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Fair Trading Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Truth in Lending Act, Fair Credit Billing Act, and the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act.
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) specifically works to prevent unfair, deceptive and abusive practices from financial companies by taking action against those that break the law. The bureau also works to educate and empower consumers to make the best financial decisions for themselves.
The CFPB conducted a recent survey on collection practices. Key findings include:
About a third of all consumers reported being dunned by a collector or a creditor in the year before the survey, the report said. Of them:
- 53 percent said the debt was not theirs, or the collector sought the wrong amount.
- 54 percent were contacted more than four times a week.
- 27 percent said they felt collectors threatened them.
- 15 percent were sued by a creditor or collector, but only a quarter of them attended a court hearing.
- 42 percent told collectors to stop contacting them, with little success. Only one in four such requests were honored.
Did you know…
“More than 1 in 4 consumers report feeling threatened by a debt collector, and a majority of those contacted about debt say the calls persist even after requests to stop.”
\u2014 Richard Cordray
U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Debt collection companies, agents and firms have the right and responsibility to help consumers resolve past due balances and arrange acceptable payment agreements. Unfortunately, the aggressive behavior of these agents and debt management companies can turn from annoying to harassing. Consumers often feel trapped and suffer through the abusive activity.
But good news! The law is changing and soon.
The CFPB has submitted a change to be adopted into law under the Fair Debt Consumer Protection Act. The order outlines that Collection agencies will not be allowed, under law, to cause your telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy, abuse or harass a person while collecting on a debt. This means consumers may:
- Limit the number of times a collector may contact you during the week
- Set personal contact preferences for phone and email
Take advantage of the law. Protect yourself. Get back on track and get peace of mind!