Alexander J. Douglas, Esq. | Attorney | (585) 703-9783 |

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Changes

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has gone through some pretty large changes lately.

The CFPB is the main federal regulator that is responsible for regulating financial institutions like banks and credit unions. It also regulates financial industry participants like debt collectors, who are otherwise bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  The goal of the CFPB is to protect consumers and prevent another massive recession like the one we experienced in 2008.

Richard Cordray has been the director of the CFPB for several years.  In recent weeks, Cordray resigned from his post as director in order to run as governor in Ohio.

Republicans are not huge fans of the CFPB.  One common criticism by Republicans of the CFPB is that it is an agency run without much outside accountability.  The CFPB often takes strong enforcement actions against banks and debt collectors, resulting in very large monetary penalties.  According to their own numbers, the CFPB has provided close to $12 billion in relief to consumers since its beginning, either via monetary penalties or forgiven debt.

President Trump, however, has called the CFPB “a total disaster.”  For this reason, after Richard Cordray resigned, Trump appointed his own interim director, Mick Mulvaney.  This led to a fight between the interim director that Richard Cordray picked, Leandra English.  Both English and Mulvaney believed that they were the proper director of the bureau.

Regardless of what happens with this type of in-fighting, it seems clear that Trump is determined to bring changes to the CFPB in any way possible.  One huge possibility is that the CFPB will not go forward with their proposed regulations relating to debt collection.  These proposed regulations have been in the plans for years.

No matter what happens, it is important to remember that you have legal rights protected by the FDCPA and federal law.  Debt collectors are not allowed to harass you, use unfair practices, or use any kind of misrepresentations when collecting debt from you.  If you think that a debt collector may have violated this law, you may be entitled to damages of up to $1,000.  The law provides that a winning Plaintiff has their attorneys’ fees paid by the defendant, so we take every case on contingency.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Reviews Debt Collector Disclosers

This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is gathering information from consumers to figure out which disclosures by debt collectors are necessary when sending letters to consumers.  Often, the various disclosures in debt collection letters are confusing and contradictory to consumers.  When surveying consumers, the CFPB is seeking approval to use these survey results to help with their debt collection regulation making.

Check out the article from the American Bar Association.

For the last several years, the CFPB has been preparing to make a federal rule that would apply to all of the efforts by debt collectors in America.  The main goals of the rule are to create a fair and honest debt collection process for consumers, while also making it easier for debt collectors to understand what the rules are. According to the CFPB, they plan on issuing a proposed rule to debt collection sometime this fall.

We at Gesund & Pailet look forward to the final debt collection rule from the CFPB.  It has been a long time coming. Debt collectors should be bound by a broad and clear set of rules when collecting consumer debts from individuals in this country.  All too often, our clients ask us what the different disclosures mean on debt collection letters.

Remember that, under the federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are not allowed to make any misrepresentations in their dealings with you.

They are further prohibited from making any unfair attempts to collect debt or harassing you.  If you think that a debt collector may have violated this law, you may be entitled to damages of up to $1,000.  The law provides that a winning Plaintiff has their attorneys’ fees paid by the defendant, so we take every case on contingency. 

Companies Pay Millions in Illegal Autodialer Text Message Lawsuits

Did you know that companies are not allowed to use an autodialer to send text messages to your phone without your consent?

Federal law gives you the right to sue a company that is sending text messages to your phone without your consent.  Under this law, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), you are entitled to up to $1,500 per unwanted text message.

Some companies are spending millions of dollars to settle class action lawsuits for these kinds of violations.  Recently, a taxi cab company agreed to settle a class action for illegal text messages for a total of $5.3 million, plus over $1 million in attorneys’ fees.

Despite these huge settlements, some companies do not get the message that they are not allowed to send illegal text messages to your cell phone without your consent.  Sometimes, these companies buy lists of cell phone numbers from marketers to try to sell their goods and services to you, and assume that you will not know your rights.  Other times, the companies are just unaware of these consumer protection laws designed to protect you from inconvenience.

The same law also says that consumers can get up to $1,500 per unwanted call to their cell phone if the call was made with an autodialer.

How do you know the call was made with an autodialer?

  • Some common indications include receiving calls twice in a row, calls at the same time each day
  • A large number of calls, a “click” noise when you answer, or having the caller hang up when you answer

Bottom line, these companies do not count on you knowing your rights when they are violating the law.

We here at Gesund & Pailet have helped several consumers with bringing lawsuits under the TCPA, and we stand ready to help anyone else who is being bothered and harassed by these companies.

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