At yesterday’s joint FTC-CFPB roundtable on the debt collection industry, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) was referenced together with the “1970s” a number of times. Commissioner Julie Brill, in an unscripted moment in her opening remarks, smiled at the thought that the FDCPA was enacted the same year she graduated from high school in 1977. Another panelist received laughs from the punk rock enthusiasts in the audience by recalling that 1977 was the year that The Clash released its first album.
So what needs to be updated? Several panelists and Commissioner Brill referenced the need to recognize new technology, particularly as it relates to delivering consumer notices and requests. The FDCPA currently requires that verification requests and cease communication requests from consumers be made in writing. Prior to the roundtable, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released a letter addressed to Director Cordray that similarly called for new guidance or rules that would allow consumers to provide such requests electronically.