On March 22, 2021, the CFPB submitted its annual report to Congress on the efforts of the CFPB and FTC during 2020 to administer and enforce the FDCPA.
The CFPB’s report includes descriptions of the four public enforcement actions it initiated in 2020, two of which were resolved, and two of which remain in active litigation. The CFPB’s report also describes the two final rules concerning the FDCPA that the CFPB issued in October and December, 2020, which WBK covered here and here. In addition, among other items, the report notes that during 2020, the CFPB identified risks of consumer harm related to the COVID-19 pandemic; published materials on helping consumers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic financially, including with respect to debt collection; provided debt collection educational materials to consumers online; released a report concerning servicemembers’ complaint data from 2019; published information concerning student loan debt collection during the COVID-19 pandemic; and published results of a survey, testing different versions of disclosures concerning time-barred debt and revival.
The report also describes the FTC’s enforcement activities during 2020, including an initiative called “Operation Corrupt Collector,” which was designed to address the practice of collecting debts that do not exist or that the consumers do not owe. In 2020, the FTC initiated three enforcement actions related to Operation Corrupt Collector, all of which are ongoing, and four other enforcement actions related to the FDCPA. The report also describes the FTC’s public outreach and cross-Agency coordination with the CFPB, including regular meetings between FTC and CFPB staff to discuss enforcement, rule making, debt collection complaints, and to cooperate in efforts to educate consumers about debt collection.