We write quite a lot about the law, compliance, and other “boring” stuff over here at TrueAccord. The thing is, we don’t think these topics are boring. Regulation, the law, and working with regulators is something you have to embrace when entering a highly regulated space. Our ability to introduce innovation in debt collection requires multiple skills. Among them, it hinges on our ability to combine forward looking technology with just enough understanding of how to talk about it with regulators. This means taking an active roles in commenting, debating and when possible – crafting opinions about the law itself.
This is why we’re happy that our General Counsel, Avital Gertner-Samet, was appointed to the Consumer Financial Services Committee of the Business Law Section of The State Bar of California (aaaaand… breath!). Seriously, debt collection is no monkey business, and joining these organizations is our way of contributing our thinking to the variety of voices influencing the law.
Congratulations, and to our new partners at the State Bar – we look forward to working with you.
We started TrueAccord to make a difference in the debt collection industry, and that includes shining a light on practices that may not be illegal, but we think are either unethical or promote unethical behavior. We started by reviewing the downsides of quotas in debt collection, and today we’d like to touch on another burning issue: convenience fees.
Charging convenience fees for certain type of payments (card, electronic, or every payment that isn’t cash) is a common practice in debt collection. Even if the agency you’re working with aligns well with your values and expectations (a tough proposition in this fragmented market), you should be very careful about allowed convenience fees, for the following reasons:
Continue reading “Charging convenience fees should make you very inconvenient”
More consumers are filing complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) due to debt collection practices. The number one reason, by a large margin (43% of the total in November 2014), is continued attempts to collect debt that isn’t owed. While many complaints are the result of the behavior of overly eager collectors, a lot of mistakes start with the original creditor. Old systems, bad reports and a sloppy debt sale process lead to balances being reported as unpaid, both to collection agencies and to credit bureaus. The CFPB has its eye on this problem, and collectors must be aware of its prevalence, since it leads to unnecessary disputes and hurts customers.
Continue reading “These two common mistakes put creditors in legal hot water”
The CFPB published its Advance Notice of Proposed Rule-making for the Debt Collection industry back in 2013. The actual rule is expected around April of 2015, and the industry is worried about the changes it will introduce.
The rule is expected to add more consumer disclosures, more data integrity in the collection process, as well as other limitations on contacting consumers. Furthermore, the CFPB is planning to apply its debt collection oversight mandate to first party debt collectors, those who collect for themselves or a parent company. Debt collection compliance is about to experience a huge shift.
Continue reading “In today’s regulatory environment, debt collection compliance is a moving target”
Nearly 80,000 consumer debt collection complaints have been submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) since the complaints database has been established. Of these complaints, more than half involve relentless or excessively aggressive communication tactics, false statements, or threatening actions. With companies more focused than ever on fine-tuning every aspect of their CRM process, it’s troubling that there is still a place for collectors who use bully tactics and who flagrantly violate consumer protection laws in the industry.
Continue reading “What’s the Problem with Quotas for Debt Collectors?”
Debt Collection is a highly regulated industry, where debtors and collectors follow the letter of the law. It is in fact a highly litigious one, drawing attention to dry technical terms rather than the intent of a certain rule or another. Compliance with debt collection laws is therefore paramount to any debt collector, and an issue that creditors deeply care about (because they can get in trouble, too!).
At TrueAccord, we analyze laws, follow litigation cases, enforcement actions and bills to make sure we, and our customers, are compliant. Our legal team works diligently to make sure that we know what’s the latest in rule making, and stay compliant and ahead of the curve. Of course, this also works well with our values and why we started the company.
What Are The Major Debt Collection Laws?
This is a non-exhaustive list of the type of rules that govern our actions in debt collection. There are many others, including licensing requirements, that we are required to meet.
- The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act governs debt collection practices at the Federal level (there are others for the state level). The FDCPA defines prohibited and allowed practices in debt collection. It tells us when, how and how often we are allowed to contact consumer debtors, what disclosures need to be made in that communication, and what cannot be done (although we are much more strict than the law).
- The Telephone Consumer Protection Act defines legal practices for making business phone calls. It defines the tools to be used and avoided, how to disclose the purpose of a call, what’s considered consent to being contacted and more.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates the collection and use of consumer credit information. It governs when and how we can report debtors to credit bureaus and impact their credit score. It also allows dispute of reports under certain circumstances, and how data needs to be handled.
This is just a glimpse into the complex world of debt collection laws and regulation. Our job is to make sure we stay compliant while getting customers to talk to us and settle their debt. You don’t need to worry about compliance – our experts navigate this topic for you, so you can focus on growing your business.
How many times have you read this headline? How many times have you discovered something that you didn’t really know already? We wanted to change that trend because frankly, there are things we want you to know so you can enjoy them when you’re working with us.
- Easy communication: we try everything we can to not call you at inconvenient times. In fact, we’d rather get you using our online portal to negotiate easy solutions to your outstanding balances. Much like you, we lead busy lives and want to take care of bills at our own pace, when it’s the right time for us.
- No hidden fees: we are upfront about what we ask you to pay and we don’t invent fees like administration or convenience fees. We believe in transparent processes and that means that even longer payment plans that we accept will carry minimal to no additional cost from TrueAccord.
- Disputing charges: think that you were wronged? We want to hear about it. We may not be able to change the outstanding amount but we’ve been successful with getting debtors and creditors to talk and settle. If you have a valid concern, we won’t badger you with the dry letter of the law – we want to help more than just recover as much as possible, as fast as possible.
See, these are the things we want you to know. We know getting into a recovery process isn’t fun, and we’re here to simplify it and to help you get through it easily.
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