Good News for Consumers–the CFPB’s Proposed New Rules for Debt Collectors

There is good news for the 70 million U.S. consumers who are behind in their bills and being pursued by a debt collector. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed new rules that apply to the debt collectors that collect bills for other creditors. The current rules are outdated and inadequate. For example, when existing law was enacted, there was no voicemail, email or text messages. Back when the debt protection laws were written, debt collectors were sending consumers postcards, collect calls and telegrams! Here are the main new rules: Debt collectors would have to tell consumers they could...

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How Long Can Old Debt Remain on Credit Reports?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits credit bureaus from reporting most debts more than seven years old. The seven year clock starts ticking from the original delinquency date or date of first delinquency. This is the date after which the account was never again current. Confusion about the date arises when the consumer brings a delinquent account current and then the account becomes delinquent a second or third time. The account will then have more than one date of first delinquency. The report of the first delinquency will remain 7 years and then fall off the reports. The report of...

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How to Deal with Zombie Debt

WikiHow, a how-to-manual that you can edit, has excellent advice on dealing with zombie debt-old debts that cannot legally be collected through lawsuits. Companies buy the debt for pennies on the dollar and then use nefarious tactics to get consumers to pay. Tactics include harassing calls, threats to sue, and re-aging the debt (faking the date of last activity on the account) so as to report the debt on the consumer’s credit reports. WikiHow outlines steps to take and not take. For example, don’t acknowledge the debt, do not make a payment on the debt, ask for proof the debt...

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