The CFPB has sent a questionnaire which, according to the CFPB’s accompanying cover letter, is intended to help the CFPB “better understand operational costs and other factors associated with debt collection.”  The cover letter indicates that the questionnaire was sent to “a variety of debt collection firms, creditors, and service providers” and that responses “will inform the Bureau’s analysis of the costs and benefits of potential new rules related to debt collection.”   The letter also tells recipients that their participation is voluntary and that after the CFPB receives responses to the questionnaire, it plans “to reach out to a subset of respondents to ask whether they would be willing to participate in follow-up phone interviews to help us understand their operations in more detail.”

The questionnaire seeks information about a respondent’s:

  • Business generally, including numbers of employees, net revenue from collecting various types of debt, whether the respondent owns the debts it collects
  • Specific business processes, including what collections management system is used, whether program adjustments to the system are made by a vendor or in-house, frequency of receiving various categories of account information from creditors, practices for calling and sending written communications to consumers, handling disputes, accepting and processing payments, assessing post-charge off interest or fees, use of vendors for skip tracing, furnishing data to credit bureaus, litigation, and compliance.

The CFPB issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning debt collection in November 2013.  The ANPR’s comment period closed on February 28, 2014.