CFPB Submits 2020 Report  to Congress on the Administration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Report highlights commitment to protect consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

unlawful debt collection practicesThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the 2020 annual report to Congress on the administration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The report highlights efforts by the CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect consumers, particularly those who have suffered profound financial impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CFPB and the FTC, along with state and federal partners, accomplished much toward stopping unlawful debt collection practices and continuing its vigorous law enforcement, consumer education and public outreach, and policy initiatives.

In 2020, the CFPB engaged in four public enforcement actions, arising from alleged FDCPA violations. The CFPB resolved two of these cases. The two judgments ordered nearly $15.2 million in consumer redress and $80,000 in civil money penalties. Two cases remain in active litigation. Among other highlights, the report notes the following CFPB accomplishments:

  • Identified several issues that raise the risk of consumer harm during the COVID-19 pandemic through its supervisory Prioritized Assessments;
  • Published content to help consumers financially navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, including on debt collection, that has been accessed by users approximately 4.3 million times;
  • Provided consumer debt collection educational materials – In 2020, “Ask CFPB,” an interactive online consumer education tool logged 1.9 million page views and/or downloads in English and 220,000 in Spanish for its debt collection questions;
  • Released a report highlighting service members’ complaint data from 2019;
  • Published information about debt collection activity during the pandemic for student loans; and,
  • Published results of a quantitative online survey of over 8,000 respondents to test several versions of disclosures to support the understanding of time-barred debt and revival that informed the CFPB’s final rules on debt collection.

CFPB & FTC protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive debt collection practices

The CFPB and the FTC share authority to enforce the FDCPA, and continue to work closely to coordinate efforts to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive debt collection practices. The two agencies reauthorized a permanent memorandum of understanding on February 2019 that facilitates consultation in rulemaking, enables coordination in enforcement, sharing of supervisory information and consumer complaints, and collaboration on consumer education.

The report is available here.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.

MUSINGS BY DIANE:

The CFPB and FTC are back (in other words, they now have political power to do something given the 2021 change in administration).  Anyone can be caught in a scam (yes – I mean anyone).  We all think it will happen to someone else, but ….. 

We are all just trying to survive, and, hopefully thrive.  Quality education is the way to do both.  Never rely on the Internet for advice – there is more bad advice than good.  Always seek advice from at least two people who are experienced in the area you need help. Once armed with good information, then use your common sense to decide what is best for you.

– Diane L. Drain
Click here for steps to your free bankruptcy consultation