Debevoise & Plimpton

CFPB begins comprehensive rulemaking process on debt collection

On 6 November 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), in an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), requested comment on expanded protections for consumer debtors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Dodd-Frank Act. The ANPR includes more than 150 questions related to a wide variety of debt collection topics. Responses to the ANPR’s questions and comments on the ANPR are due 10 February 2014.

This ANPR is especially important, because it signals an effort on the part of the CFPB to expand dramatically the category of debt collectors subject to such federal regulation. Previously, only third-party debt collectors were governed generally by the FDCPA, but the ANPR indicates that the CFPB is considering invoking its authority under the Dodd-Frank Act to cover first-party creditors who collect debts on their own behalf as well.

In the ANPR, the CFPB notes that debt collection is a significant consumer issue, citing large volumes of complaints about, and lawsuits filed concerning, debt collection activities. The ANPR also notes that the CFPB has authority under both the FDCPA and the Dodd-Frank Act, including the unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices standard, to prescribe rules for both first-party and third-party persons who are collecting debts that arise out of consumer credit transactions…

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