U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts has introduced new legislation that would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to regulate the debt collection industry.
Nearly one in three Americans say they were contacted by at least one creditor or collector during the last year. And a 2017 survey of debt collection organizations found that 1 in 4 staff members reported that they have spoken to at least one customer in the past year who seemed serious about committing suicide over their debt.
Earlier this year, the CFPB issued a new rule that rolls back protections that prevent debt collectors from harassing Americans via phone and email. And since the beginning of the Trump Administration, more than 62,000 Americans submitted unfair debt collection complaints to the CFPB.
Last month, Pressley sent a letter to CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger slamming the bureau’s new rule. Now Pressley has introduced the Monitoring and Curbing Abusive Debt Collection Practices Act, which would prohibit the CFPB director from issuing any rule that allows debt collectors to send unlimited emails and text messages to consumers; and require the agency to issue a quarterly report on debt-collection complaints, as well as any enforcement actions taken against debt collectors in the previous 12 months.
“My mother took pride in paying her bills on time, but after several life-disrupting events, there came a point where she no longer could afford it,” Pressley said in an emailed press release. “No matter how hard she worked, we owed everybody — the utility company, the landlord, the bank, the car company — and we were frequently harassed by debt collectors. Our story is the story of millions of families, who go through life with feelings of fear, vulnerability, judgment, and shame thanks to abusive debt collectors. My bill, the Monitoring and Curbing Abusive Debt Collection Practices Act, works to actively curb the aggressive tactics and psychological harassment that debt collectors are all too quick to employ.”