Trump CFPB Finalizes Rule Opening Floodgate to Debt Collection Harassment In Middle of Pandemic and Recession

Washington D.C. – Consumer watchdog Allied Progress renewed its calls on Trump Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director Kathy Kraninger to resign after the agency finalized its controversial proposed rule today allowing debt collectors to harass consumers with unlimited texts and emails without prior permission in the middle of a pandemic and recession. The CFPB’s proposal isn’t just wildly unpopular, it’s potentially illegal after a Federal appeals court ruled debt collection agencies were prohibited from asking consumers to click on hyperlinks to obtain legally required notices about outstanding debt. Kraninger’s final rule would permit exactly that. 

“Millions of Americans are out of work and taking on crushing levels of debt no thanks to the recession that followed President Trump’s refusal to take the pandemic seriously. And now the Trump administration is adding insult to injury letting debt collectors endlessly harass struggling families who are choosing between food and paying bills,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Allied Progress. “On the heels of the Trump CFPB’s rule that let predatory payday lenders trap more vulnerable Americans in cycles of debt during a recession, the Trump debt collection spam rule is the administration’s latest gift to wealthy donors at the expense of consumers.”

Consumers are already contacted by debt collectors more than a billion times a year, but the Trump administration thinksthere is room for more harassment in more mediums. Too often already, the debt collection industry goes after “zombie” debts too old to be legally pursued or that don’t even belong to the person. The Trump spam plan rewards the debt collection industry despite racking up among the highest number of consumer abuse complaints and millions of dollars in fines and legal penalties for misconduct. The rule comes after debt collection industry trade groups have spent over $2.1 million on federal lobbying since Trump took office, and debt collectors have donated over $343,000 to Republican political campaigns since 2016.

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