The Federal Government, through the FTC, has proposed changes to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These changes are good, at least in my opinion. Maryland attorney Sonya Smith-Valentine summarized these changes nicely on her blog:
- Debt collectors should provide better information in debt validation notices, including: (1) the name of the original creditor; and (2) itemization of: the principal, the total of all interest, and the total of all fees and other charges
- The statutory damages awarded under the FDCPA should be increased to account for inflation.
- The FTC should have regulatory authority under the FDCPA.
- The law should generally prohibit debt collectors from contacting consumers via cell phones unless they have obtained prior express consent to such contacts.
These changes are good. Debt validation notices now are a waste of paper. They barely contain any information. I would actually like to see more required in a validation notice. The increase in damages would be very nice. It has been over 30 years since the law was enacted and the damages have not been increased since then. Finally, debt collectors should not be calling consumers on cell phones. That is simply ridiculous.