In a notice published earlier this week in the Federal Register, the CFPB announced that it plans to seek OMB approval to conduct an online survey of approximately 8,000 individuals as part of its research on debt collection disclosures.  Comments must be received on or before August 4, 2017.

Last July, in anticipation of convening a SBREFA panel for the CFPB’s debt collection rulemaking, the CFPB issued an outline of the proposals it is considering.  The panel met with small entity representatives to discuss the proposals last August.  The proposals included revisions to the form and content of the validation notice, new disclosures for time-barred debts, and a new “obsolescence disclosure” informing the consumer whether a time-barred debt can appear on a credit report.

In support of the OMB request, the CFPB has filed a sample of the survey questions and Supporting Statements Part A and Part B.  As described in Supporting Statement Part B, the survey would test a number of questions related to the disclosures the CFPB is developing in conjunction with its rulemaking, especially with regard to time-barred and “obsolete” debts.  The research will be conducted by a contractor retained by the CFPB that will subcontract with a survey research firm to assist with the administration of the survey.

Through the survey, the CFPB intends to test consumers’ comprehension and decision making using updated versions of disclosures previously used by the CFPB in a study.  The sample survey questions do not include the disclosures, which the CFPB states are “currently being developed.”

The coverage of the CFPB’s SBREFA proposals was limited to “debt collectors” that are subject to the FDCPA.  Despite the CFPB’s statement when it issued the proposals last July that it expected to convene a second SBREFA panel in the “next several months” for creditors and others engaged in debt collection not covered by the proposals, it has not yet done so.