July 31, 2019 Practice Points

How to Comment on the CFPB’s Proposed Debt-Collection Rule

A primer for litigators.

By Mark E. Rooney

While a litigator’s practice does not typically involve submitting comments to regulators, anyone who litigates Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claims will want to pay close attention to the recently proposed debt-collection rule offered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Among other things, the proposed rule:

  • Provides a debt collection letter template that, if used, would shield debt collectors from liability arising under the FDCPA’s debt-validation provisions.
  • Caps at seven the number of collection calls a debt collector can make to a consumer in one week.
  • Gives collectors the ability to leave a “limited content” voicemail with consumers without running afoul of certain FDCPA disclosure rules.

The CFPB’s press release, with a link to the full text of the proposed rule, is available here.

Claims under the FDCPA are among the most litigated in federal court each year. Over 9,000 FDCPA cases have been filed each year since 2009. Through its proposed rule, the CFPB aims to bring clarity to the FDCPA which, in theory, could reduce the amount of FDCPA litigation; on the other hand, any gray area in the interpretation of the new rule could result in increased litigation, at least initially. The good news for litigators is that the comment submission process is fairly easy. The CFPB welcomes comments on any and all aspects of the proposed rule, including how the rule might affect business operations or a debt collector’s exposure to litigation. Interested parties may submit comments:

By email to:

2019-NPRM-DebtCollection@cfpb.gov. Commenters should note the docket number in the subject line: Docket No. CFPB-2019-0022 or RIN 3170-AA41.

By regular mail:

Comment Intake – Debt Collection
Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
1700 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20552

By hand delivery or courier:

Comment Intake – Debt Collection
Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
1700 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20552

The deadline to submit comments is August 19, 2019.

Mark E. Rooney is the principal and founder of The Rooney Firm PLLC in Washington, D.C., and cochairs the Consumer Litigation Committee’s Subcommittee on TCPA and FDCPA Litigation.


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