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ACA Advises BCFP to Avoid a ‘One Size Fits All’ Approach in Rulemaking

Association submits comments to bureau in response to RFI on adopted regulations and new rulemaking authorities.

ACA International supports the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s authority to update and streamline outdated provisions for rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. As such, the association on Tuesday submitted comments to the bureau in response to its “Request for Information Regarding the Bureau’s Adopted Regulations and New Rulemaking Authorities .”

While Congress passed the FDCPA in 1977 to eliminate deceptive, unfair and abusive conduct by third-party debt collectors, at the time of its enactment, lawmakers failed to provide regulators with rulemaking authority. “The result has been 40 years of inconsistent interpretation of the law by the courts,” Mark Neeb, ACA’s CEO said in the comment letter. “ACA welcomes the opportunity to work with the bureau to address onerous provisions and interpretations of the FDCPA, which often do not account for modern technology and consumer preferences.”

“With this new authority to write rules, however, the bureau must recognize the complexity of the marketplace and avoid seeking a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” Neeb wrote. “Finally, the bureau must institute a rigorous cost-benefit analysis and consider the impacts rules will have on industry as well as consumers in order to meet statutory objectives.”

Among other highlights related to the complexity of the debt collection marketplace, ACA advised the bureau to “consider that many third-party debt collectors will simply not have the infrastructure necessary to implement the complex compliance requirements likely to result from certain types of debt collection regulation.”

ACA’s recent response to the bureau’s “Request for Information Regarding Rulemaking Processes” noted repeatedly that the bureau must work toward “clarifying legal obligations for debt collectors and solving problems for consumers and regulated entities.”

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