“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.