Oct 19, 2013 Philip Burgess
Debt collection agents across the United States are required to adhere to the detailed policies with in the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Although most organizations in the industry are compliant with the FDCPA, collection agents sometimes have a difficult time following the strict guidelines of the law.
In many cases, violators unknowingly fail to comply with the FDCPA, meaning that some well intentioned professionals can be negatively impacted if they do not regularly review the act's policies. In the past, violating parties have been fined and even shut down due to repeated offenses.
Now, ensuring total compliance with the FDCPA is more important than ever before for collection professionals. The Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) recently stated that it is stepping up its efforts to inform the public about FDCPA regulations so consumers can spot violations and report them when they occur.
"There's a lot that this act covers, and we're here to help whoever needs help to fight against the unlawful contacts that debt collectors and creditors violate," said Danny Vah of the BCS.
With the BCS stepping up its regulatory enforcement efforts, debt collectors need to take the necessary steps to make sure they fully understand the nuances in the FDCPA. This task is becoming more important, as the BCS is not the only organization that has promised to place additional scrutiny on the sector. In the last several months, officials with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have repeatedly promised to closely monitor illegal collection practices.
The Southeast Texas Record recently highlighted a case that shows just how easy it is for debt collectors to find themselves involved in a litigious situation. The source reported that a man from Denton County is suing a debt relief company for leaving vague voicemails on his phone.
The suit alleges that the collector did not disclose the call was coming from a collection firm, which can be a violation of the FDCPA. The plaintiff is seeking damages, court costs and attorney's fees, showing how costly it can be to get embroiled into an FDCPA-related legal battle.
Collection executives can avoid similar situations at their firms by teaching their employees to review the FDCPA and any applicable state collection laws at regular intervals. Also, testing professional account agents to ensure complete understanding of the FDCPA can be a great way to increase compliance.