New federal rules aim to stop debt collector harassment

By Sommer Brokaw

May 7 (UPI) -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a proposal Tuesday to set new rules to protect consumers from harassment by debt collectors.

The bureau's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes limiting the number of calls debt collectors can make on a weekly basis to seven per week, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It also requires debt collectors to send consumers a disclosure with information about the debt, such as itemization and how they can respond to or dispute the amounts.


The Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 to guard against another financial crisis, gives the bureau responsibility for enforcing the FDCPA.

"The Bureau is taking the next step in the rulemaking process to ensure we have clear rules of the road where consumers know their rights and debt collectors know their limitations," said CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger. "As CFBP moves to modernize the legal regime for debt collection, we are keenly interested in hearing all views so that we can develop a final rule that takes into account the feedback received."

The proposal clarifies how debt collectors can communicate with consumers on voicemails, emails and text messages. Specifically, it also shows consumers how they can limit the way debt collectors can contact them at a specific telephone number while they're at work or during certain work hours. It also prohibits a debt collector from suing or threatening to sue a consumer over debts when the statute of limitation has expired.


The Bureau will accept public comment on the proposal for 90 days. The rule is set to take effect one year after the final rule is published.

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