The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued an Advisory Opinion on “convenience” or “speed pay” fees, such as “fees imposed for making a payment online or by phone,” under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The full Advisory Opinion is available at: Link to Advisory Opinion.
Among other things, the CFPB says:
- Such “convenience” or “speed pay” fees violate the FDCPA, unless the fees are “expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law”
- This includes situations in which “a third-party payment processor collects a pay-to-pay fee from a consumer and remits to the debt collector any amount in connection with that fee, whether in installments or in a lump sum”
- Silence in the law is not authorization
Of note, it is possible that regulators or litigants could attempt to impose this Advisory Opinion through state laws on creditors who are not otherwise subject to the FDCPA.