Debt-collection industry could soon face new regulations

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Roughly 70-million Americans are contacted by debt collectors each year, and thousands of them complain about unfair, and misleading practices.

The debt collection industry could soon have to follow a new set of regulations. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a massive overhaul for the debt collection industry.

Angela Cayode of Springfield told 22News new regulations would be beneficial for consumers across the country. “I think they need to limit them bothering people. There needs to be some type of restriction on them calling people,” she said.

The proposal comes after The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received about 250,000 complaints since 2011. These have ranged from relentless phone calls, to calls about loans that were discharged in bankruptcy.

Under the proposal, collectors would be limited to calling you 6 times a week. Massachusetts law already prohibits them from calling you more than twice per week.

They’d also have to provide documentation that proves a debt is valid, and provide you with easier options to dispute debt. For example, you’d be able to challenge a charge over the phone, instead of having to put it in writing.

Gordon Oliver of Cambridge Credit Counseling told 22News the proposal would also change how collectors are allowed to contact you. “One of the proposals is texting, so they’re assuming that people pay for texts, so they’re going to control the amount of texts. If the person has opted in for texts or they haven’t, the collector will have a limitation on how many texts they can send,” he said.

The new proposal is expected to face resistance from the industry.

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