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Debt collectors lobbying against documentation rules

Sep 24, 2011 Mike Garretson

Debt collection firms may be shaking in their boots thanks to the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and as that public agency gets its feet on the ground, some companies are moving to curb the impact of some consumer-focused legislation. A number of state laws in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Oregon, Florida and California have been implemented requiring collection agencies to disclose original contracts and prove certain debts. However, industry leaders worry that such regulations may cut in to their profits, prompting a widespread effort to lobby against the measures. "We are becoming much more regulated in this industry than in the past," Phillip Duff, president of Lighthouse Consulting, a research firm that focuses on debt buying, told Bloomberg. "Part of the problem is the reputation of the industry." However, consumer groups maintain the laws are necessary to restrain abuses and unfair collection practices. Some have pointed to incidents wherein typos or mistakes led to the levying of massive debt on individuals who owed nothing, adding that mandated documentation will help to curb such errors.