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Posts published by “Donald Maurice”

Donald Maurice provides counsel to the financial services industry, successfully litigating matters in the state and federal courts in individual and class actions. He has successfully argued before the Third, Fourth and Eighth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals, and has represented the financial services industry before several courts including as counsel for amicus curiae before the United States Supreme Court. He counsels clients in regulatory actions before the CFPB, and other federal and state regulators and in the development and testing of debt collection compliance systems. Don is peer-rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, the worldwide guide to lawyers. In addition to being a frequent speaker and author on consumer financial services law, he serves as outside counsel to RMA International, on the governing Board of Regents of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers and on the Governing Committee of the Conference on Consumer Finance Law. From 2014 to 2017, he chaired the ABA's Bankruptcy and Debt Collection Subcommittee. For more information, see https://mauricewutscher.com/attorneys/donald-maurice/

Emails and Hyperlink Delivery of FDCPA Disclosures after Lavallee

Lavallee v. Med-1 Solutions, LLC  from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit examines whether an email from a debt collector was an “initial communication” and if it was, whether a clickable hyperlink serves as a proper means of providing the validation notice mandated by section 1692g(a) of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These disclosures, sometimes called the “validation notice,” can be contained in what the FDCPA refers to as the “initial communication” or provided “in writing” within five days of the initial communication. While the debt collector was found to have violated the FDCPA, the decision…

CFPB Extends Comment Period on Proposed Debt Collection Rules to Sept. 18

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it will allow more time for comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The CFPB has extended the comment period by 30 days to Sept. 18. Years in the making, if adopted the proposed rules would bring significant changes to the form and manner of consumer debt collection subject to the FDCPA. According to the CFPB, its proposal “would set clear, bright-line limits on the number of calls debt collectors may place to reach consumers on a weekly basis; apply prohibitions on harassment or abuse, false…

CFPB Releases Proposed Rules to Govern Collection Activities Under the FDCPA and Dodd-Frank Act

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Years in the making, the proposed rules if adopted would bring significant changes to the form and manner of debt collector communications to consumers, credit reporting and litigation activity. Interested parties will have 90 days from publication in the Federal Register to submit comments to the rules. The rules are available here. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking covers a wide array of material; we look at a few of the most significant proposals below. Call Frequency Cap The NPRM would…

Bending the FDCPA to the Breaking Point: 3rd Cir. Broadens Scope in Ruling Creditor is a Debt Collector

An entity whose principal business is to purchase debt, but did not itself collect the debt it purchased, was found to be a debt collector subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), even though the collection activity was undertaken by other entities. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reached this decision by expanding the scope of the statute’s liability so far that it now falls into conflict with itself. Put another way, a creditor can be a debt collector of its own performing debt which it assigned to a third party to collect. But the third party…

ANALYSIS: DC Circuit Dials Back on FCC’s Broadening of Telephone Consumer Protection Act

In July of 2015 the Federal Communications Commission handed down an order that unreasonably expanded the reach of the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act, exposing any business using a telephone to the risk of TCPA liability. A decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in ACA International v. FCC, et al. serves to undo some of the damage caused by the FCC’s order. Among the restrictions provided for by the TCPA, it was those portions of the Act which prohibited the use of an “automatic telephone dialing system” that were adversely impacted by the 2015 order.…

Use of FTC ‘Approved’ Disclosure No Safe Harbor Against FDCPA Claim

A recent decision from a trial court sitting in Illinois calls into question whether debt collectors can rely on a widely used disclosure when collecting debt that may be subject to an expired limitations period. A copy of the opinion in Richardson v. LVNV Funding, LLC is available at:  Link to Opinion. In 2012 the Federal Trade Commission and Asset Acceptance, LLC entered into a consent decree to resolve an enforcement action that included allegations that Asset’s debt collection activities violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The consent decree provided that when collecting “time-barred” debt not subject to credit reporting,…

Debt Collection Rulemaking on Hold Amid CFPB Rancor

The future of federal rules covering debt collection has been thrown into doubt amid the leadership change at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In one of his first actions since taking the helm of the CFPB as acting director, Mick Mulvaney announced a halt on all Bureau rulemaking, reported Reuters. It has been more than four years since the CFPB announced plans to propose the first-ever rules regulating debt collectors subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Last year it issued an outline of what those rules might look like. The Bureau had indicated earlier this year that…

Third Circuit Serves Up Double Fault in FDCPA, TCPA Decision

A recent decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals examines both the provision of consent under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the bona fide error defense for debt collectors under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The decision has dire implications for debt collectors, creditors and any commercial enterprise using telephone technology and QR codes in communicating with customers. A copy of the decision in Daubert v. NRA Group, LLC is available at: Link to Opinion. First up is the TCPA. The trial court ruled that the collection agency violated the TCPA when it used…

U.S. Supreme Court Offers Some Clarity in Assessing Debt Purchaser FDCPA Liability

With its unanimous ruling yesterday that a debt buyer is not a “debt collector” under at least one reading of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the U.S. Supreme Court offered some clarity to the financial services industry seeking to assess debt purchaser FDCPA liability. It did, however, refuse to address an alternative interpretation that will likely be used in an attempt to end-run the ruling. The decision in Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc. is available at: Link to Opinion. Debt Collector Must Be Collecting for ‘Another’ Santander Consumer USA Inc. acquired defaulted loans from CitiFinancial Auto and then…

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Debt Purchaser Collecting Its Own Debt Is Not Subject to FDCPA

A purchaser of a defaulted debt who then seeks to collect the debt for itself is not a “debt collector” subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act under an opinion delivered today by the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue before the Court was whether a purchaser of defaulted debt meets the FDCPA’s definition of a “debt collector” as one who “regularly collects or attempts to collect . . . debts owed or due . . . another.” 15 U. S. C. §1692a(6). Here, Santander Consumer USA Inc. acquired defaulted loans from CitiFinancial Auto and then began to collect…

U.S. Supreme Court Holds FDCPA Not Violated By Proof of Claim on Time-Barred Debt

In a 5-3 decision handed down on May 15, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is not violated when a debt collector files a proof of claim for a debt subject to the bar of an expired limitations period. The decision: held that the filing of such a proof of claim is not false, misleading, deceptive or unconscionable in violation of sections 1692e or f of the FDCPA; found that claims under the bankruptcy code need not be capable of being “enforceable” in a civil lawsuit; and, does not…

Stating Intent Not to Sue in Letter Collecting ‘Time-Barred’ Debt Violates FDCPA Without Proper Disclosures, Says 7th Cir.

A debt buying company’s letter to collect a debt subject to the defense of an expired limitations period was found to violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it failed to disclose that 1) a payment or promise can revive the limitations period; and, 2) the law limits or prohibits the debt collector from suing to collect the debt. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reached this decision even though the letter stated: “Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it and we will not report it to any…