News & Resources

Debt collection enforcement reform underway in Washington

Nov 08, 2013 Philip Burgess

Recent increases in both debt collection activity and complaints against agencies in the sector have led to vast movement among officials in Washington and many state governments. Collectors need to ensure that they are keeping up with the evolution of legislation and enforcement protocols to avoid damaging fines and sanctions in the coming months and years.

Officials have introduced a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) reform bill in the House of Representatives, and this new legislation is specifically targeted at existing statutes of limitations. The FDCPA was passed decades ago, but the general requirements continue to be in effect today.

Many consumer and debt collection advocates have argued that officials need to release updates to these laws in light of more modern trends in communication technology. However, this latest occurrence in Washington is more closely related to litigation proceedings filed by collection agencies.

Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee created and introduced this bill with the objective of blocking debt collectors from filing lawsuits against debtors when the statute of limitation has expired. Currently, there is no standing law that prevents agencies from participating in these activities, which Cohen and his constituents believed to be a risk.

"Just like the United States government, consumers should pay the debts they owe, but they still deserve protection from harassment and the abusive and predatory tactics used by some debt collectors," Congressman Cohen explained in a public statement.

As laws continue to evolve and impact debt collectors, firms should be sure to keep all employees abreast of new compliance requirements. Additionally, within the current landscape in which consumers and businesses are holding a high volume of debts amid increasingly healthy economic conditions, debt collectors can improve their financial performances by focusing on legal practices and exceptional customer service.