As elected officials and regulators realize, Americans’ disdain for robocalls is a bipartisan issue. While scam artists and telemarketers take the heat for the ongoing assault on our time and privacy, debt collectors consistently rank among the top sources of robocalls. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promised to address debt-collection robocalls and other abusive collection tactics, but instead, it recently proposed debt-collection rules that do more to protect collectors than consumers.

Rather than placing meaningful caps on debt collection calls, the bureau’s proposed regulations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allow collectors to call consumers seven times per week, per debt. A consumer with eight medical bills, for example, could receive 56 calls per week – a “limit” so high it could encourage collectors to make even more robocalls.

The bureau missed an opportunity to feed two birds with one seed by protecting Mainers from abusive and harassing debt-collection tactics while addressing the scourge of robocalls in its proposed rule. More than 10 million robocalls were dialed to the 207 area code in July alone, and at seven calls a week, per debt, the bureau’s proposed limits on collection robocalls won’t provide any relief.

Concerned Mainers should use the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s comment period to demand a final rule that helps silence debt-collection robocallers by placing a meaningful cap on collection calls – three attempted calls and one conversation per week, per consumer. Comments are accepted through Sept. 18, via webform or email to [email protected], with CFPB-2019-0022 in the subject line.

Andrea Bopp Stark

Saco

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