The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued its annual report on its administration of the Fair Debt Collection Act.
The report highlights ongoing efforts by the bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to stop unlawful debt collection practices, including vigorous law enforcement, education and public outreach, and policy initiatives.
In the report, the bureau announced its intention to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on debt collection that will address issues ranging from communication practices to consumer disclosures, Director Kathy Kraninger said in her opening message.
The CFPB handled approximately 81,500 debt collection complaints related to first-party and third-party collections, making it one of the primary subjects of consumer complaints.
Last year, the bureau engaged in six public enforcement actions arising from alleged FDCPA violations. It brought an action that resulted in an $800,000 civil penalty. It also accepted a judgment in favor of the defendant in a second case. Four other FDCPA cases remain in active litigation.
In the report, the FTC states that it filed or resolved a total of seven cases against 52 defendants, and obtained more than $58.9 million in judgments. The FTC also banned 32 companies and individuals that engaged in serious and repeated law violations from ever working in debt collection again. The FTC returned $853,715 to consumers who lost money to two phantom debt collection operations previously stopped by the FTC.
The two agencies reauthorized their memorandum of understanding on Feb. 25, 2019 that provides for coordination in enforcement, sharing of supervisory information and consumer complaints, and collaboration on consumer education.