There’s a new push to control debt collectors and protect consumers from abusive and deceptive practices on the national and the local level.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) charged New Jersey-based Premier Consulting Group and the the law office of Michael Lupolover with charging customers, in a number of states, illegal upfront fees for debt-settlement services they never received,
Neither Premier nor the Lupolover office admitted wrongdoing, but Premier will pay a $69,000 fine to the CFPB.
Director Richard Cordray said, “Charging upfront fees for debt-settlement services is against the law, and today’s action is another reminder that these illegal practices will not be tolerated.”
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined debt collection regulations that will go into effect in January of 2015. It all seems like common sense, but we have heard the stories and know that debt collectors often abuse people who can’t fight back.
New York regulations that go into effect in 2015 say debt collectors cannot:
- Use or threaten violence.
- Make repeated phone calls and annoy, abuse, or harass you.
- Use obscene or profane language when they call you.
- Call you at times they know, or should know, are inconvenient, including before 8 am and after 9 pm.
- Contact you at work if your employer prohibits you from receiving personal calls.
If you live in New York you should contact the Consumer Hotline at (800) 342-3736, or file a complaint with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS).
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also wants to hear from you and you can file a complaint with the bureau. Or call 855-411-2372.
This video blog by the New Economy Project’s Susan Shin explains why should avoid debt settlement and credit repair companies.