Tag: Debt Collection Regulations

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COVID-19: Emergency Regulations Do Not Pass Constitutional Muster
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COVID-19: The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Issues Emergency Regulations Significantly Limiting Debt Collection in Massachusetts During Pandemic
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“Survey Says”: CFPB Report Provides Further Insight Into Forthcoming Debt Collection Regulations

COVID-19: Emergency Regulations Do Not Pass Constitutional Muster

Federal Judge Enjoins Enforcement of Massachusetts Attorney General’s Debt Collection Ban Under First Amendment

By Sean R. HigginsJohn ReVeal, and Hollee M. Boudreau

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) issued a set of emergency regulations [1] intended to broadly prohibit certain debt collection activities in Massachusetts, including prohibitions against initiating debt collection calls or lawsuits, during the pendency of the COVID-19 emergency. [2] On May 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns enjoined the AGO’s enforcement of those regulations as an unconstitutional restraint on commercial free speech. The court found that the AGO’s broad prohibitions violated the constitutional rights of creditors and debt collectors in Massachusetts without providing any meaningful protections to consumers greater than those afforded by existing state and federal consumer protection laws. [3] Read More

COVID-19: The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Issues Emergency Regulations Significantly Limiting Debt Collection in Massachusetts During Pandemic

By Sean R. HigginsJohn ReVeal, and Hollee M. Boudreau

The rapid spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) has caused unprecedented disruptions to the U.S. economy, both at the state and national levels.

On March 10, 2020, the Governor of Massachusetts declared a State of Emergency, imposed stringent social distancing measures, and ordered all “non-essential” businesses to cease in-person operations.[1] While these measures were intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, they also have caused many Massachusetts residents to experience significant financial hardships.

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“Survey Says”: CFPB Report Provides Further Insight Into Forthcoming Debt Collection Regulations

By Andrew C. Glass, Brian M. Forbes, Gregory N. Blase, Roger L. Smerage, and Hollee M. Watson

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) recently released a report detailing the results of a first-of-its-kind survey on consumer experiences with debt and debt collection. The CFPB conducted the survey in connection with its ongoing effort to promulgate the first-ever federal debt collection regulations. The agency sent the survey to nearly 11,000 consumers, of whom only a little over 2,000 (just less than 20%, roughly) responded. The CFPB explained that “[t]o ensure that the survey included a sufficient number of responses from consumers who had experienced debt collection,” it targeted consumers with recent debt collection experiences at a higher rate than other consumers. Of the approximately 20% of consumers who responded to the survey, 30% were consumers with long-term debt whereas only 15% were respondents with more recent debt. The survey was comprised of 67 questions ranging from the consumers’ general financial experiences and preferences for the ways in which collectors could contact them to questions about specific debt collection attempts in the year preceding the survey (which was conducted between December 2014 and March 2015). The latter category inquired about the types of debt in collection, the manner and frequency of contacts, whether there were any erroneous attempts to collect a debt, and whether the consumer paid the debt after being contacted. Notably, the CFPB did not release the results for all 67 questions.

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