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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, is a federal agency that checks to see if large banks with assets over $10 billion are compliant with rules meant to protect consumers, including those in Florida. It was created by the Dodd-Frank law in 2010. The bureau is also in charge of overseeing other types of financial companies like collection agencies, payday loan businesses and credit bureaus.

Since its inception, the CFPB has shown a special concern for how some unfair debt collection practices impact consumers. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977 has protected debtors from abusive collection tactics for the past 35 years, but is usually applied to third party collection agencies and not original creditors who collect the debt themselves. A CFPB spokesperson says that abusive or misleading debt collection practices are illegal, regardless of who is trying to collect the debt and that the fair debt collection law will be applied more widely.

Some creditors, like JPMorgan Chase & Co., have been accused of unfair collection practices. The bank announced that it expects to face enforcement action related to how it collects debt from consumers. JPMorgan might be forced to identify borrowers who should be compensated for abuses, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Consumers in Florida should know that harassing or dishonest collection techniques are illegal. There are clear steps a that consumer may take to find relief from abusive collection calls. Agencies like the CFPB are looking out for consumers’ rights and working towards a more strict application of the law. Anyone who believes that they have been harassed by a creditor could contact an attorney. An attorney familiar with consumer laws may be able to advise on steps that could be taken to overcome creditor abuse.

Source: Herald Net, “Bank debt collection spurs U.S. sanctions“, July 11, 2013