Feds enforcing anti-harassment rules against banks, other creditors, closing debt-collection law gap

By Martha Neil, from ABAJournal.com

For decades, federal law has protected consumers from being harassed by debt collectors, including law firms.

But there was one big loophole in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: It doesn’t apply to the actual debtors, such as banks with credit card operations, only the third parties that collect delinquent debt for them.

Now the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stepping up to deal with that enforcement gap, reports Bloomberg. In addition to reviewing lenders’ collection practices and potentially fining them, the CFPB also is looking at discriminatory auto lending practices, overdraft fees and payday loans.

“It doesn’t matter who is collecting the debt–unfair, deceptive or abusive practices are illegal,” said Richard Cordray, the director of the CFPB, in a statement e-mailed to the news agency.

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