Consumers and compliant debt relief service providers can help the CFPB reign in debt relief companies who are employing Unfair Deceptive Abusive Acts or Practices.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) accepts direct consumer complaints and also offers an industry whistleblower program.
The Debt Relief industry is a very competitive environment with hundreds of companies for debt ridden consumers to turn to for help. There are many players operating in the Debt Relief space making less than truthful claims in their marketing materials and on their website. Vulnerable consumers most often will believe what they read and based on the company’s claims will end up working with a company that does not have their best interest at heart.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the new sheriff in town and is tasked with protecting consumers from the unfair, deceptive and abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) of companies offering debt relief services. The CFPB has said that their main tool will be to use its enforcement authority relating to (UDAAP). The CFPB will set the standards for what is an “unfair”, “deceptive” or “abusive” act or practice for purposes of their authority to prohibit such acts or practices.
From the CFPB website:
“Unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices (UDAAPs) can cause significant financial injury to consumers, erode consumer confidence, and undermine the financial marketplace. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, it is unlawful for any provider of consumer financial products or services or a service provider to engage in any unfair, deceptive or abusive act or practice. The Act also provides CFPB with rule-making authority and, with respect to entities within its jurisdiction, enforcement authority to prevent unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices in connection with any transaction with a consumer for a consumer financial product or service, or the offering of a consumer financial product or service. In addition, CFPB has supervisory authority for detecting and assessing risks to consumers and to markets for consumer financial products and services.”
The CFPB definitions of UDAAP are posted on their website here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/guidance/supervision/manual/udaap-narrative/
Consumers who believe that the debt relief company that they have worked with operated in an unfair, deceptive or abusive manner in any way can now work directly with the CFPB by submitting a complaint against the company and can track the CFPB’s progress with their complaint. Debt relief companies are now directly accountable to their consumer clients and federal regulators. Companies would be well advised to resolve all consumer complaints including refund requests directly with their client before being reported to the CFPB. Companies that do not satisfy the CFPB after a consumer complaint is filed can quickly find themselves out of business and facing stiff penalties.
Compliant debt industry service providers have a strong desire to provide services based on truth and transparency. There is a very large number of debt relief companies who are operating in total compliance of all industry regulations and providing their consumer clients with outstanding customer service. These compliant service providers are being unfairly judged by the actions of their non-compliant competitors.
Consumer focused and compliant debt relief providers can now do something to help themselves while helping the CFPB rid the industry of the companies who are operating non-compliantly, providing poor customer care and putting their profits ahead of helping debt burdened American consumers.
The CFPB has included a special page on their website which encourages individuals (whistleblowers) to report companies violating any consumer financial law or violating a component of UDAAP for direct investigation by the bureau. The CFPB encourages the submission of information from “a current or former employee of such a company, an industry insider who knows about such a company, or even a competitor being unfairly undercut by such a company“.
With help of compliant debt relief companies and industry insiders the CFPB has the ability using it’s authority under UDAAP to radically and quickly clean the Debt Relief industry of companies who do not play fairly and do not place the consumer first.
The future of the consumer debt relief industry has never looked so bright for providers who will play by the new rules and will focus on providing stellar customer care.