Debt collectors that accept recurring payments over the phone know that Federal laws – specifically Regulation E, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and the E-Sign Act – provide guidelines for consent and disclosures. insideARM first featured an article on those issues in January 2013:
Since that time, the CFPB issued guidance on these issues in November 2015, stating:
Regulation E may be satisfied if a consumer authorizes preauthorized EFTs by entering a code into their telephone keypad, or, Supervision concluded, the company records and retains the consumer’s oral authorization, provided in both cases the consumer intends to sign the record as required by the E-Sign Act.
The CFPB guidance follows common sense and tracks consumer expectations: if a consumer consents verbally to recurring payments, and the debt collector records and maintains that consent, the law is satisfied. Despite the clear CFPB directive allowing verbal consent for recurring payments, consumer attorneys continue to bring lawsuits against debt collectors asserting that verbal consent violates the law. In the absence of guidance from a Court of Appeals on the issue, the lawsuits against debt collectors – with uncertain outcomes in the Courts — will continue. Further, these lawsuits undermine the ability of both consumers and debt collectors to rely upon interpretations of the law from the CFPB.
In this episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman http://www.lawmoss.com/john-rossman/ and Mike Poncin http://www.lawmoss.com/michael-s-poncin/ are joined by special guest Mike Etmund http://www.lawmoss.com/michael-t-etmund/ to discuss a recent case addressing whether verbal authorization for recurring payments is sufficient. Also discussed in this episode are newer cases on the Spokeo requirement that a Plaintiff must suffer a “concrete injury in fact” to maintain an FDCPA case and the status of the CFPB arbitration rule.
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Collection letters are the bane of our industry. Letters are expensive to send and – despite what a certain television pundit claims – studies prove that few consumers actually read collection letters. The CFPB, the FCC and other regulators pay little more than lip service to the urgent requests from consumer advocates to allow collectors communicate with consumers electronically, with States such as New York enacting Byzantine and unworkable rules to “allow” collectors to communicate with consumers via email. It is anticipated that the CFPB, in its upcoming notice of proposed debt collection communication rules, will adopt standards for electronic communications similar to the convoluted rules found in New York. Ultimately it is consumers that are harmed by these rules that disregard modern electronic communications in favor of antiquated collection letters. Further, consumer attorneys scrutinize collection letters, measuring the font size of disclosures and injecting tortured interpretations of plain language to find possible lawsuits (and potential paydays) against collection agencies diligently seeking to comply with the law.
In the latest episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman (http://www.lawmoss.com/john-rossman/) and Mike Poncin (http://www.lawmoss.com/michael-s-poncin/) discuss a new wave of lawsuits against debt collectors in California, which focus on the font size of certain disclosures, and New York, which centers on a misreading of Second Circuit case law.
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First party and early-out servicing provides an enhanced customer service experience and greater responsiveness for consumers. These qualities make first party and early-out servicing beneficial for creditors as well as consumers. However, as the prevalence of this type of servicing increases, consumer attorneys and regulators seek to find ways to apply traditional debt collection laws and statutes to first party and early-out servicing.
In the latest episode of the Debt Collection Drill, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman http://www.lawmoss.com/john-rossman/, Mike Poncin http://www.lawmoss.com/michael-s-poncin/ and Dave Cherner http://www.lawmoss.com/david-d-cherner/ discuss risks for first party and early out servicing arising from the FTC DeMayo Opinion, discuss specific State licensing and disclosure requirements (24 States and jurisdictions may require early-out servicers to obtain a collection agency license) and also address possible CFPB rulemaking to modify the definition of default, as determined by meetings that Mr. Rossman and Mr. Cherner have attended with the CFPB through the Consumer Relations Consortium http://www.crconsortium.org/
On July 28, 2016, the CFPB released an outline of its proposed rules regarding debt collection. The outline is the next step in the first ever rulemaking in the nearly 40 year history of the FDCPA. Attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin examine some of the highlights of the CFPB rulemaking outline in the latest episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast.
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Debt collection letters continue provide an expansive target for FDCPA and related lawsuits due to the panoply of Federal and State disclosure requirements for such letters. Further, the Court cases interpreting these requirements are in constant flux and new decisions sometimes contradict previous rulings. In a rare win for the collection industry, a recent case out of the Eastern District of New York -In Re Krieger- rejected a consumer’s FDCPA claims brought in a putative class action and premised on language included in a collection letter.
In the latest episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin discuss the Krieger decision and provide specific collection letter recommendations for debt collectors, emphasizing the need for collection letters to be reviewed by an independent attorney on an annual basis.
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