In a 2019 NACA survey, the majority of responding consumer attorneys (65%) has worked on cases for consumers who received a written disclosure from a debt collector related to the collection of time-barred debt. More than half said that their clients “rarely” understood the disclosures. Legal aid attorneys in particular (85% of them) said that their clients “rarely” or “never” understood the disclosures. Only 5% of respondents said that their clients “usually” or “always” understand the time-barred debt disclosures.
We will discuss what this practical experience means in the context of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s recently released proposal on time-barred debt disclosures.
What You Will Learn
•What the overall content and meaning are of the CFPB’s proposal on time-barred debt disclosures
•What the consequences are for state laws that already have rules on time-barred debt disclosures
•How to promote a rule that is the interest of the least sophisticated consumer
Carolyn E. Coffey is the director of litigation for Economic Justice at Mobilization for Justice, Inc. (MFJ), which provides free legal assistance to New York City residents in the areas of housing, foreclosure, public benefits, civil and disability rights, employment, and consumer and family law, prioritizing services to vulnerable and under-served populations while simultaneously working to end the root causes of inequities through law reform, impact litigation, and policy advocacy. Ms. Coffey also directly supervises MFJ's Consumer Rights and Low-Income Bankruptcy Projects, which provide advice, counsel, and defensive and affirmative representation to low-income New Yorkers in state and federal court lawsuits and appeals. She also engages in legislative advocacy, successfully helping to enact pro-consumer laws and regulations in New York City and New York State, drafts amicus curiae briefs, has co-authored reports concerning the debt collection industry, and conducts trainings on consumer law. Ms. Coffey is the co-chair of the New York City Consumer Advocates Taskforce and is an adjunct professor at Cardozo Law School, where she teaches a consumer clinic seminar.
Christine Hines is NACA’s legislative director, and she advocates before Congress and federal administrative agencies on consumer protection policy, including financial services and access to justice. Before joining NACA, she was consumer and civil justice counsel at Public Citizen's Congress Watch, where she worked to improve consumer product safety and access to justice. Christine received her B.A. in political science at American University and her J.D. at University of Virginia.
April Kuehnhoff is a staff attorney in the National Consumer Law Center's Boston office, where she advocates for fair debt collection. She is the co-author of NCLC's Fair Debt Collection and a contributing author to Surviving Debt. Prior to joining NCLC, Ms. Kuehnhoff was an associate at Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP, a law clerk for the Honorable Justice Gary Katzmann at the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and a Skirnick Public Interest Fellow at the Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services office of Greater Boston Legal Services. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Law School.
David J. Philipps, of Philipps & Philipps, Ltd., in southwest suburban Chicago, is a founding member of NACA (1994) and is co-chair of its board of directors. Since 1991, David has sued thousands of debt collectors who have violated the FDCPA. David has taught seminars throughout the country on the FDCPA to numerous consumer, regulatory, and debt collector groups, and he has repeatedly met with the CFPB to try to get it to issue-appropriate regulations.