The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy submitted comments on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Regulation F) in line with ACA International’s suggestions on consumer communications and disclosure notices and noting the significant impact it could have on small businesses.

Here are a few top-level comments from the SBA Office of Advocacy:

•     Several provisions of the rule will be particularly difficult for small debt collectors and require consideration of alternative approaches. These include the requirement of compliance with the E-Sign Act for electronic disclosures, the requirement of an itemized validation notice, liability for an attempt to collect a debt that is time-barred and requirements for retention of records.
•     The initial regulatory flexibility analysis states that larger collectors may already have some of the proposed provisions in place. The small debt collectors may not. Some of the provisions may require expensive changes to technology and additional training. Advocacy encouraged the bureau to give small entities additional time to comply if they cannot be exempted from the requirements of the proposed rule.
•     The bureau is prescribing the rules pursuant to its authority under the FDCPA, as well as the Dodd-Frank Act’s prohibitions on unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP). The UDAAP provisions create uncertainty for first-party creditors who are not supposed to be regulated by the proposal. Advocacy encouraged the bureau to limit the rule to the FDCPA.
•     The rule imposes a limit on the frequency of debt collection calls and provides a safe harbor for debt collectors who comply with the call caps. Because small entities do not usually make calls that exceed the limits in the proposal, Advocacy encouraged the bureau to exempt small debt collectors from the call limit caps.

The SBA Office of Advocacy’s comment letter and fact sheet may be accessed on the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov or here https://tinyurl.com/y2fmelcf. Additionally, ACA International submitted a 154-page comment letter available on its website at www.acainternational.org.