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Feds to Rein In Debt Collectors

November 18, 2013
Plain English Version

Are debt collectors bothering you? Relief is only a year or so away.

The government said it was asking for comments on ways to change the 1977 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It is seeking comments over the next three months.

The law was enacted a long time before email, cell phones and text messaging.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is  responsible for oversight of the law. Its target is the 4,500 debt collectors in the United States. About 30 million people face debt collection. The average amount they owe is $1,400. CFPB says debt collection practices are the most common complaint they receive from peopleThe bureau says information on debt records may be wrong. People may have already paid. Or they may be the wrong targets and are bothered over debts that are not theirs..

Current law says consumers should be called only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. However third-party companies hired to collect the debts often ignore this time limit.

Some states have their own laws. Massachusetts allows only two phone calls, texts or voice mails a week.

CFPB says it knows how much money is owed and how many people are debtors. It said a real problem is the emotional toll that owing money has on people.

A bureau spokesman said they hope the new rules will change the way debt collectors work.

Source: The Los Angeles Times                                                                                        November 5, 2013

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