RobertEG, Excellent and knowledgeable commentary.
Perhaps those who have only a negative impression of the importance and need for federal /congressional /government
intervention into consumer affairs are missing the true purpose and benefit of consumer advocacy and equal access to the
benefits of living in a free society.
We the people, are the customers and beneficiaries of our great, democratic, free market system.
Regulation is a necessary and important process in assuring equitable results for all participants in a free market system,
and, without regulation we would all succumb to the Darwinist approach to survival in a world that has long since past
those elementary thoughts. I am one who calls for expanded regulations in many industries, because it serves the needs
of the consumers.
One of my biggest gripes is the lack of "teeth" associated with enforcement of violations. Only a thousand bucks ??
That is chump change today, most companies can afford to play loose and fast with the rules because they know that they won't take any kind of serious hit for it.
1) the FDCPA and FCRA need to open the floodgates on how much consumers can sue for. $1,000 is nothing.
what is the purpose of the FDCPA? DETER abusive debt collection practices. you do this by raising the amount of STATUTORY damages available to a consumer.
make it AT LEAST $5,000 minimum in STATUTORY damages PER VIOLATION!!!!!!
congress needs to make this change, that law is like, what, 30 years old?
2) The same shall apply to the FCRA, increase the amount of damages, whether willful or negligent. willful much higher than negligent, but negligent higher than $1,000.
3) also, the second thing is the FCRA requirements where the FCRA doesn't really follow the "strict liability" like the FDCPA. the bar is set a little higher.
4) the provision allowing for attorney's fees under the FCRA needs to be the same as FDCPA. the FCRA under 1681N(c) and 1681O(b) use the word "shall" whereas the FDCPA under 1692k(a)(3) uses the word "may." (as in "the court shall award to the prevailing party attorney’s fees reasonable in relation to the work expended in responding to the pleading, motion, or other paper" as opposed to "the court may award to the prevailing party attorney’s fees reasonable in relation to the work expended in responding to the pleading, motion, or other paper."
5) be more clear in permissible purpose and what constitutes permissible purpose.
6) be more clear on what constitutes verification/validation and what documents must be sent.
7) mandate that debt collectors must have proof of assignment and full chain of title prior to collection, and that assignment must be part of validation/verification.
8) take care of "hard pull" and "soft pull" issues. who can do what and for what reason.
9) make it easier for consumer to obtain permissible purpose information from credit bureaus. it shall be a violation for credit bureaus to hold this information. credit bureaus has 45 days to comply with request from consumer.
10) FICO credit scores should be sent along with credit report once a year.
11) force experian to sell fico scores on myfico for a reasonable price.
12) consumer shall have more than 1 year to file lawsuit. 2 or 3 years is reasonable.
i have more, but its late and i am tired
But if they change the per violation issue, and increase the amount of statutory damages and make FCRA more like FDCPA i would be the happiest man alive.
oh, one more thing, make the Original Creditor subject to the FDCPA (ok i know that's stretching it)
With the knowlege and experience of those on this site, I believe that our views could make a difference.
Is anyone interested in putting together a consensus of recommendations resulting from this thread, and forwarding it to those who may have the interest and authority to actually pursue these issues? I am not sure if that would be executive agency or legislative, but that could be worked out.
I have concerns with use of the site for such efforts, and of course guidance would be needed from site administration. I would be willing to secretary such a list for consensus review by all, and ultimate forwarding to whomever we feel would be appropriate.
In general I'm a free market kind of guy. That being said, if the free market fails to self regulate I believe strong over sight is justified. I hold no hope that "government" will address the issue of fair credit reporting given that the government currently looks the other way when payday loans are offered at 400% interest per year (including major banks involved) or when so called main stream credit cards are allowed to charge 25% to 30% interest when the cost of money is 1% or less. These same regulators allow for so called "banks" like CreditOne to exist owned by the same company that runs one of the worst Junk Debt Buyer Collection Agency’s.
Anyway, what do I think should be changed in a perfect world?
#1: Proper validation of debt defined. This would include any debt written off by the OC and sold, meaning proper media or documentation would have to be part of the process.
#2: Credit reporting of past due and/or charge off accounts would be linked to the SOL for the debt. This might require a Federal SOL so that all states would be the same time period,
#3: Limitation of what could be reported on credit reports. Collectors use credit reporting as a tool for collection more than anything. Allowing $40 "past due Library books" or parking tickets to be included on credit reports just makes a mockery of the process of credit scoring. Parking tickets and library books are not an extension of credit risk.
#4: Ban "Pay for Delete". A credit report should be a true fair playing field that reports a true picture of ones credit history. Debt collectors use credit reporting as a pressure tool for collections, PFD might as well have been invented by the debt collectors, but it’s unfair in as it does not reflect a true credit history.
#5: Greatly increase penalties, even going beyond civil, for falsified documentation of debt. Major banks and many debt collectors will sue using robo-signed affidavits, re-dating of debts is common both for credit reporting and for suing after the SOL has run out, etc. Generally once this "perjury" is discovered the suit is tossed out, but rarely is a penalty assessed against the falsified documents. How many "default judgments" are awarded supported by falsified documents?
#6: This is the big one.... Strongly regulate the Credit Reporting Agencies to hold them to basic standards, increase greatly the civil penalty for willful non-compliance, BAN the use of E-Oscar (type systems) as its now set up for disputes. BAN the conflict of interest the CRA's have of playing all parties against each other "selling out" to each (consumer, creditor, and debt collector).