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Collections, Repossessions, Utilities

Roundup of 2023 FDCPA Appellate Court Reported Decisions

This article summarizes all 2023 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) reported appellate court decisions, organized by topic. A highlight are eight appellate decisions examining standing in FDCPA cases. Some of the other topics include attorney fees, the bona fide error defense, the "debt collector" definition, and the FDCPA statute of limitations.

Widespread FDCPA Violations in Collection of Medical Debt

A new CFPB report highlights the astonishing amount of debt collection seeking medical debt not owed or owed in a lesser amount. This article describes reasons medical debt amounts are often inaccurate (including non-compliance with new federal and state legislation), details why such collection violates several FDCPA provisions, and explains how to overcome the medical debt collector’s legal defenses.

Strict New Limits on Prerecorded Debt Collection Calls Effective July 20

New TCPA rules, effective July 20, place strict limits on the frequency of prerecorded debt collection calls to landlines. This article explains why the new rules increase protections beyond those of FDCPA Regulation F and offer victimized consumers greater statutory damages than the FDCPA, while statutory damages under both statutes do not face Article III standing concerns for unwanted calls.

Year-End Review of 2022 FDCPA Appellate Decisions

This article summarizes all 2022 FDCPA published circuit court of appeals decisions. Of special note are seven decisions on constitutional standing. Other topics include the unsophisticated consumer standard, attorney fees, the bona fide error defense, FDCPA intersection with TILA, FDCPA scope, third-party communications, FDCPA claims based on state law, and sanctions.

Advising Clients When an Abusive Partner Coerces Debt

This article provides practical tips for advising clients with debt incurred by an abusive partner through coercion and fraud—developing a safety plan, documenting the coerced debt, protecting bank accounts, dealing with unauthorized credit card use, preventing an abuser from opening new accounts in the victimized partner’s name, addressing coerced debt on a credit report, and dealing with home mortgages.

CFPB Clarifies Limits on Pay-to-Pay, Other Debt Collector Charges

A new CFPB advisory opinion not only clarifies when “pay-to-pay” fees are prohibited, but also whether a wide array of other debt collector charges violate the FDCPA. This article provides numerous examples of potentially illegal debt collector charges under the just-announced standards. A Truth in Lending Act provision provides even stronger remedies for fees added to automated payments for credit card debt.

FDCPA Litigation Using New Reg. F: Pleading Tips & Recently Alleged Violations

This article provides ten pleading tips when bringing Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims based on the new requirements found in CFPB Regulation F. The article then surveys recent federal court complaints alleging Regulation F violations as indicative of the violation patterns emerging in the six months since the Regulation’s effective date. The article links to the full text of complaints illustrating the types of violations being alleged.

New Federal Benefit Provides Affordable Broadband Access

This article examines the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) access to broadband for low-income household. The article explains what the ACP offers, who can obtain benefits, and how to apply. With over 11.5 million households already enrolled in ACP, consumer practitioners need to know how to help clients with enrollment and to advise those already enrolled as to their rights. As the COVID...

Consumer Advice Dealing with Debt Collectors—Including the New Federal Rules

This article provides advice to consumers in dealing with debt collectors, taking into consideration new consumer rights and new consumer risks flowing from federal rules that just went into effect on November 30, 2021. The article: provides nine ways to stop debt harassment, with sample letters; explains the limits of what collectors can really do; and lists illegal debt collection conduct that can lead to consumer claims.

Defenses to Collection of Rental Debt

This article provides tenant tactics to deal with rental debt: responding to negative tenant screening reports that prevent access to new housing; challenging the rental amount claimed as due; other defenses to rental debt collection lawsuits and eight ways for the tenant to recover attorney fees in that litigation; tenant rights after a court judgment for the landlord; and tenants’ affirmative litigation for the collector’s litigation abuse.