A first for the two major consumer protection agencies, a unity or meeting of the minds, between the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). These consumer agencies came together for the first time to try to protect consumer rights across the board. The goal, “Operation Collection Protection”. This initiative will unite all the federal agencies as well as state and local governments to protect consumers and enforce the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”).
The motivation behind this program….in 2015 abusive debt collection practices topped the list of complaints received by both the FTC and the CFPB. Operation Collection Protection begins with new programs targeted to protect consumers from illegal collection tactics, including repeated phone calls, false threats of suit, arrest and garnishment. Although both the FTC and the CFPB have been simultaneously working to stop abusive debt collection practices, they believe that actually working together will bring consumers more beneficial results.
Number one on the list of the FTC and the CFPB…targeting creditors. Under the FDCPA, original creditors cannot be held liable for their conduct. The statute only applies to debt collectors, and the definition of debt collector in the statute is clearly defined to not include original creditors. Operation Collection Protection seeks to hold original creditors to the same standard as a third party collector. These agencies feel that the fact that the FDCPA does not apply to creditors gives them a free pass to abuse consumers during the collection process. The agencies are looking to redefine the term “debt collector” and to crack down on banks, mortgage companies and financial institutions as a whole, industries which both the FTC and CFPB receive regular complaints about.
In the early part of 2016, the FTC and the CFPB plan to release an outline of their proposed rules specifically aimed at targeting creditors who abuse consumers in the collection process. The agencies plan to control the abusive industry by focusing on violations such as intimidation tactics used during collection, collection of fraudulent debts and failure to identity themselves as collection agencies during the collection process, all conduct which is in violation of the FDCPA.
If you believe your rights have been violated by a collection agency or an original creditor, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.