If you owe a debt, you should make every effort to pay it. After all, you’ve enjoyed the services or goods that your debt bought. And companies have a right to try to collect or even sell that debt to recoup their money.

The more they can collect, the less likely they are to pass on their debt troubles to other consumers in the form of higher prices or the cost of credit.

But consumers have a right to accurate documentation to back up the collection efforts. And certainly folks who don’t owe a debt shouldn’t be harassed or bullied because of some computer error or faulty debt data.

And this is where the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau comes in. The watchdog agency is considering rules for the debt collection market, but before it writes any new regulations or strengthens those already on the books, the agency wants the public to weigh in on an array of issues involved in debt collection. Among the agency’s chief concerns is making sure debt collectors have the correct person, debt and documentation.

“It is widely recognized that problems with the flow of information in the debt collection system is a significant consumer protection concern,” the agency said in its advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

Often when debt is sold to collectors for pennies on the dollar, the sale doesn’t include a lot of information about the debtor or his or her debt. The documentation might include nothing more than the person’s name, last known address, Social Security number and debt amount.

Several states have implemented laws, court rules or administrative orders requiring more specific proof of debt from companies who sue consumers to collect on outstanding debts.

Even ACA International, a trade group for the consumer debt collection industry, believes some updating is in order.

Other questions ask whether the length of time that debt collection records are retained should relate to how long a debt may generally be noted in a consumer report or how long a consumer has to bring private action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which was enacted in 1977.

I think the core of any rule proposal has to require that when debt is sold or transferred, it should include specific and standardized proof or underlying documents related to someone’s debt as part of the sale.

Consumers can submit comments at www.regulations.gov. But a far easier place to learn about the issues and problems with debt collection is www.regulationroom.org, which is not a government-run site. Instead, trained students and staff at Cornell Law School run it. The CFPB is working with Cornell to make it simpler for people to submit comments about debt collection.

Even if you aren’t interested in commenting, you can learn a lot about debt collection practices and your rights. In discussion forums, people can submit comments and moderators keep things civil and provide background information. They also probe, asking follow-up questions to those who submit comments or gripes in order to dig deeper into the issues they face.

Comments submitted at www.regulationroom.org will be summarized and submitted to the CFPB before the end of the official public comment period.

I know you may not think you have a voice. But you do. Here’s your chance to put in your two cents’ worth. What’s been your experience with debt collectors? What changes do you think should be made? Don’t be a spectator in this debate about debt.

Source: rutlandherald.com

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Kollect Systems is an innovative tech platform provider with BankTech and FinTech software solutions which leverage AI based decisioning and workflow technologies to help lenders perform Debt Collections & Recovery (BankTech) processes effectively and for mid-size to large scale enterprise companies (FinTech), to automate Receivables, e-Invoicing & Payments better.

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Kollect Systems is an innovative tech platform provider with BankTech and FinTech software solutions which leverage AI based decisioning and workflow technologies to help lenders perform Debt Collections & Recovery (BankTech) processes effectively and for mid-size to large scale enterprise companies (FinTech), to automate Receivables, e-Invoicing & Payments better.

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