Recapping Top ACA Daily Articles in 2019

A look back at some of the most well-read stories about influential legal, advocacy and regulatory happenings in the industry covered by ACA International. Editor’s note: This is part two of two, recapping the top articles from June through December.

12/30/2019 8:15 AM

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Recapping Top ACA Daily Articles in 2019

2019 was a banner year for advocacy and legal accomplishments in the accounts receivable management industry and landmark news such as the release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed debt collection rule, U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, state laws on data privacy and consumer protections, and much more.

Here are some of this year’s most significant and well-read stories published in ACA Daily:

June 2019

FCC Approves Call Blocking and Labeling Order

A declaratory order in effect upon release by the Federal Communications Commission will allow voice service providers to block illegal and unwanted calls as the default before they reach consumers’ phones. Providers must also inform consumers they have the option to opt out of the call blocking service. The declaratory order also clarifies that voice service providers may offer customers the option to block calls from any number that does not appear on a customer’s “white list” or contacts list, on an opt-in basis. In the weeks leading up to the vote, ACA International and other trade groups advocated for the FCC to delay its vote and seek public comment.

Statute of Limitations and Garnishment Legislation Approved in Washington

Members of the Washington Collectors Association (WCA) successfully advocated for the accounts receivable management industry to reform legislation on garnishment exemptions and interest rates as well as the statute of limitations signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. The bill reduces post judgment interest for consumer debt from 12 % to 9 % said Kelsi Hamilton, CCCO, legislative chair for the Washington Collectors Association and director of compliance and legislative affairs at Dynamic Collectors Inc. in Chehalis, Washington. The WCA originally opposed the bill, but reversed its position following updates to the interest rate and garnishment levels applied after unit members testified before the Washington state legislature.

July 2019

ACA Cast “The CFPB’s Proposed Rule: Peeling Back the Layers”

To help its members understand the finer points of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule, ACA International launched a first-class education program highlighted by podcasts, webinars, presentations and numerous news articles and letters.

In an episode of ACA Cast titled, “The CFPB’s Proposed Rule: Peeling Back the Layers,” Jack Brown III, an attorney and president of Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, led an informative panel discussion outlining important highlights of the proposed rule. Featured panelists include Eileen Bitterman, a compliance officer and shareholder with Weltman, Weinberg & Reis, and Tim Collins, the chief compliance officer with TrueAccord.

Robo-Dispute Purveyors Found Guilty of Fraud

ACA members The CBE Group, Inc. and RGS Financial, Inc., secured a momentous jury verdict against defendants Lexington Law Firm and Progrexion, Inc. In a 23- page complaint, the member collection agencies meticulously outlined the defendants’ fraudulent practices of luring in vulnerable consumers by promising “credit repair” services. Considering the serious and egregious nature of the findings, the jury awarded both compensatory damages and exemplary damages totaling roughly $2.5 million. The lawsuit filed by ACA member law firm Malone Frost Martin PLLC is just the beginning of exposure to the fraudulent practices carried out by Lexington Law Firm and Progrexion, Inc. 

August 2019

Survey Says: West Virginia is the Worst State for Litigation

In the context of debt-collector-friendliness, West Virginia has long been the problem child in comparison to its neighboring states. But in recent years, West Virginia has really earned its reputation. A 2015 survey conducted by The Harris Poll for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform produced results identifying West Virginia as the overall worst state for litigation. Notably, West Virginia earned a “C-“ in the element of “treatment of class actions and mass consolidation suits”. Coincidentally (but probably not), also in 2015, West Virginia amended its Consumer Credit and Protection Act to change its aggregate limits in class actions as well as individual actions.

Robocalls 101: Unwanted vs. Illegal

As everyone in the industry is aware, there’s a huge difference between unwanted and illegal robocalls. Not to mention, there are layers upon layers of issues surrounding why robocalls placed by bad actors are increasingly difficult to stop, according to Spencer Macnaughton, a video journalist with The Wall Street Journal who is featured a video framing the issue.

September 2019

Maine Passes Law Protecting Consumers from "Economic Abuse"

On June 19, 2019, the governor of Maine signed a new law, H.P 553 – L.D. 748, with rules to follow when a consumer’s debt results from “economic abuse.” This bill provides a definition for the term “economic abuse” and rules for debt collectors and credit reporting agencies to follow when consumers present evidence of being victims of economic abuse. The law went into effect Sept. 19, 2019.

Illinois District Court Calls out “Manufactured” FDCPA Lawsuit

At least one consumer’s attorney group will think twice before filing a manufactured lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In a consolidated complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that ACA International member agency Nationwide Credit and Collection Inc. violated Section 1692e(8) of the FDCPA by failing to update its tradelines to reflect plaintiffs’ disputes to the credit information being reported to the credit reporting agencies.

October 2019

How a Court Ruling on Email and the FDCPA Could Impact the CFPB’s Proposed Debt Collection Regulations

A Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision on emails, disclosure notices and compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act may impact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rules for the 1977 law. ACA International supported member company Med-1 Solutions LLC in the case with an amicus brief seeking to establish that secure email is a legitimate means of providing the written notifications required by § 1692g of the FDCPA, or at least to obtain guidance for the accounts receivable management industry as to how secure email may be engineered to comply with the law.

Pennsylvania Court Finds Plaintiff’s Collection Letter Interpretation "Bizarre and Idiosyncratic”

The district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued an order agreeing with the defendant collection agency that the plaintiff’s interpretation of defendant’s collection letter is “bizarre and idiosyncratic.”  In a short 11-page decision, the judge succinctly dismantled the plaintiff’s argument that the language in the letter implied that the balance might increase and was therefore misleading because debtors would be incentivized to pay off the debt sooner. “Plaintiff was not misled into believing a payment would clear his account. On the contrary, paying the balance in Defendant’s letter would clear Plaintiff’s account,” the judge wrote in his opinion (emphasis in original). 

November 2019

CFPB Focuses on Credit Reporting in Recent Lawsuit: What Members Need to Know

On Sept. 25, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a complaint in the District Court of Maryland against Fair Collections & Outsourcing (FCO) based on their credit reporting practices, policies, and procedures. The complaint alleged violations under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Regulation V, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It is important to note that FCO denies the allegations in the CFPB’s complaint and has filed a motion to dismiss with the court. It is also important to understand that there is no determination of any violation or any court order ruling on the merits of the CFPB’s allegations. However, the allegations in the complaint can provide valuable insight on the CFPB’s mindset on credit reporting practices as well as provide insight into the new administration’s view on regulation by enforcement.  (This content is available for members only as part of the Members Attorney Program article series)

CFPB Highlights Work of Legitimate Debt Collectors

In a recent video, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlights an issue third-party debt collectors and consumers equally struggle with: debt collection scams. Consumers who receive a call from a scammer claiming a past-due amount is owed could fall victim to identity theft if they are not careful. A legitimate third-party debt collector will follow Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requirements and will want to work with consumers. ACA International recently covered consumer tips on debt collection in ACA Cast with Jessica Hearn,  the chief financial officer and compliance director with Universal Fidelity in Katy, Texas, “Why is a Debt Collector Calling Me?”; and “Identity Theft: Don’t Fall Victim to the Threat.”

December 2019

Supreme Court Decides ‘Discovery Rule’ Inapplicable to FDCPA’s Statute of Limitations

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited opinion in Rotkiske v. Klemm, a case examining the statute of limitations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. The facts involved in Rotkiske are straightforward. Kevin Rotkiske incurred a credit card debt to Capital One with a balance of $1,500. Paul Klemm’s law firm was engaged to collect the debt. The firm filed a lawsuit but ultimately withdrew it after unsuccessfully attempting service on Rotkiske at a previous known address. Thereafter, the firm brought a second suit and served Rotkiske through a person unknown at the prior address. Default judgment was granted against Rotkiske in early 2009. while the “discovery rule” may no longer be used by FDCPA plaintiffs, they still may fashion arguments supporting the application of a longer statute due to equitable reasons, such as fraud. As such, arguments relevant to the FDCPA’s statute of limitations will likely continue. (This complete article is available for members only as part of the Members Attorney Program article series)

Senate Follows House’s Suit and Approves Pallone-Thune TRACED Act

The U.S. Senate passed S. 151, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, Thursday, Dec. 19, with unanimous consent addressing concerns of legitimate businesses in the accounts receivable management industry and directing the Federal Communications Commission to engage in several rulemakings and reports to Congress on call blocking and call authentication.

ACA International’s advocacy team worked with lawmakers to successfully secure changes in the legislation on behalf of members and the industry. ACA Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey and Mark Brennan, partner at Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, D.C. recently discussed the ins and outs of the legislation and ACA’s advocacy efforts on ACA Cast.

Read a recap of the top articles from January through May here.

ACA Daily is your source for accounts receivable management industry news and updates on education, advocacy and events for industry professionals and members. Subscribe here and watch for exciting things to come in 2020!


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

Recapping Top ACA Daily Articles in 2019

2019 was a banner year for advocacy and legal accomplishments in the accounts receivable management industry and landmark news such as the release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed debt collection rule, U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, state laws on data privacy and consumer protections, and much more.

Here are some of this year’s most significant and well-read stories published in ACA Daily:

June 2019

FCC Approves Call Blocking and Labeling Order

A declaratory order in effect upon release by the Federal Communications Commission will allow voice service providers to block illegal and unwanted calls as the default before they reach consumers’ phones. Providers must also inform consumers they have the option to opt out of the call blocking service. The declaratory order also clarifies that voice service providers may offer customers the option to block calls from any number that does not appear on a customer’s “white list” or contacts list, on an opt-in basis. In the weeks leading up to the vote, ACA International and other trade groups advocated for the FCC to delay its vote and seek public comment.

Statute of Limitations and Garnishment Legislation Approved in Washington

Members of the Washington Collectors Association (WCA) successfully advocated for the accounts receivable management industry to reform legislation on garnishment exemptions and interest rates as well as the statute of limitations signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. The bill reduces post judgment interest for consumer debt from 12 % to 9 % said Kelsi Hamilton, CCCO, legislative chair for the Washington Collectors Association and director of compliance and legislative affairs at Dynamic Collectors Inc. in Chehalis, Washington. The WCA originally opposed the bill, but reversed its position following updates to the interest rate and garnishment levels applied after unit members testified before the Washington state legislature.

July 2019

ACA Cast “The CFPB’s Proposed Rule: Peeling Back the Layers”

To help its members understand the finer points of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule, ACA International launched a first-class education program highlighted by podcasts, webinars, presentations and numerous news articles and letters.

In an episode of ACA Cast titled, “The CFPB’s Proposed Rule: Peeling Back the Layers,” Jack Brown III, an attorney and president of Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, led an informative panel discussion outlining important highlights of the proposed rule. Featured panelists include Eileen Bitterman, a compliance officer and shareholder with Weltman, Weinberg & Reis, and Tim Collins, the chief compliance officer with TrueAccord.

Robo-Dispute Purveyors Found Guilty of Fraud

ACA members The CBE Group, Inc. and RGS Financial, Inc., secured a momentous jury verdict against defendants Lexington Law Firm and Progrexion, Inc. In a 23- page complaint, the member collection agencies meticulously outlined the defendants’ fraudulent practices of luring in vulnerable consumers by promising “credit repair” services. Considering the serious and egregious nature of the findings, the jury awarded both compensatory damages and exemplary damages totaling roughly $2.5 million. The lawsuit filed by ACA member law firm Malone Frost Martin PLLC is just the beginning of exposure to the fraudulent practices carried out by Lexington Law Firm and Progrexion, Inc. 

August 2019

Survey Says: West Virginia is the Worst State for Litigation

In the context of debt-collector-friendliness, West Virginia has long been the problem child in comparison to its neighboring states. But in recent years, West Virginia has really earned its reputation. A 2015 survey conducted by The Harris Poll for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform produced results identifying West Virginia as the overall worst state for litigation. Notably, West Virginia earned a “C-“ in the element of “treatment of class actions and mass consolidation suits”. Coincidentally (but probably not), also in 2015, West Virginia amended its Consumer Credit and Protection Act to change its aggregate limits in class actions as well as individual actions.

Robocalls 101: Unwanted vs. Illegal

As everyone in the industry is aware, there’s a huge difference between unwanted and illegal robocalls. Not to mention, there are layers upon layers of issues surrounding why robocalls placed by bad actors are increasingly difficult to stop, according to Spencer Macnaughton, a video journalist with The Wall Street Journal who is featured a video framing the issue.

September 2019

Maine Passes Law Protecting Consumers from "Economic Abuse"

On June 19, 2019, the governor of Maine signed a new law, H.P 553 – L.D. 748, with rules to follow when a consumer’s debt results from “economic abuse.” This bill provides a definition for the term “economic abuse” and rules for debt collectors and credit reporting agencies to follow when consumers present evidence of being victims of economic abuse. The law went into effect Sept. 19, 2019.

Illinois District Court Calls out “Manufactured” FDCPA Lawsuit

At least one consumer’s attorney group will think twice before filing a manufactured lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In a consolidated complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that ACA International member agency Nationwide Credit and Collection Inc. violated Section 1692e(8) of the FDCPA by failing to update its tradelines to reflect plaintiffs’ disputes to the credit information being reported to the credit reporting agencies.

October 2019

How a Court Ruling on Email and the FDCPA Could Impact the CFPB’s Proposed Debt Collection Regulations

A Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision on emails, disclosure notices and compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act may impact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rules for the 1977 law. ACA International supported member company Med-1 Solutions LLC in the case with an amicus brief seeking to establish that secure email is a legitimate means of providing the written notifications required by § 1692g of the FDCPA, or at least to obtain guidance for the accounts receivable management industry as to how secure email may be engineered to comply with the law.

Pennsylvania Court Finds Plaintiff’s Collection Letter Interpretation "Bizarre and Idiosyncratic”

The district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued an order agreeing with the defendant collection agency that the plaintiff’s interpretation of defendant’s collection letter is “bizarre and idiosyncratic.”  In a short 11-page decision, the judge succinctly dismantled the plaintiff’s argument that the language in the letter implied that the balance might increase and was therefore misleading because debtors would be incentivized to pay off the debt sooner. “Plaintiff was not misled into believing a payment would clear his account. On the contrary, paying the balance in Defendant’s letter would clear Plaintiff’s account,” the judge wrote in his opinion (emphasis in original). 

November 2019

CFPB Focuses on Credit Reporting in Recent Lawsuit: What Members Need to Know

On Sept. 25, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a complaint in the District Court of Maryland against Fair Collections & Outsourcing (FCO) based on their credit reporting practices, policies, and procedures. The complaint alleged violations under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Regulation V, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It is important to note that FCO denies the allegations in the CFPB’s complaint and has filed a motion to dismiss with the court. It is also important to understand that there is no determination of any violation or any court order ruling on the merits of the CFPB’s allegations. However, the allegations in the complaint can provide valuable insight on the CFPB’s mindset on credit reporting practices as well as provide insight into the new administration’s view on regulation by enforcement.  (This content is available for members only as part of the Members Attorney Program article series)

CFPB Highlights Work of Legitimate Debt Collectors

In a recent video, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlights an issue third-party debt collectors and consumers equally struggle with: debt collection scams. Consumers who receive a call from a scammer claiming a past-due amount is owed could fall victim to identity theft if they are not careful. A legitimate third-party debt collector will follow Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requirements and will want to work with consumers. ACA International recently covered consumer tips on debt collection in ACA Cast with Jessica Hearn,  the chief financial officer and compliance director with Universal Fidelity in Katy, Texas, “Why is a Debt Collector Calling Me?”; and “Identity Theft: Don’t Fall Victim to the Threat.”

December 2019

Supreme Court Decides ‘Discovery Rule’ Inapplicable to FDCPA’s Statute of Limitations

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited opinion in Rotkiske v. Klemm, a case examining the statute of limitations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. The facts involved in Rotkiske are straightforward. Kevin Rotkiske incurred a credit card debt to Capital One with a balance of $1,500. Paul Klemm’s law firm was engaged to collect the debt. The firm filed a lawsuit but ultimately withdrew it after unsuccessfully attempting service on Rotkiske at a previous known address. Thereafter, the firm brought a second suit and served Rotkiske through a person unknown at the prior address. Default judgment was granted against Rotkiske in early 2009. while the “discovery rule” may no longer be used by FDCPA plaintiffs, they still may fashion arguments supporting the application of a longer statute due to equitable reasons, such as fraud. As such, arguments relevant to the FDCPA’s statute of limitations will likely continue. (This complete article is available for members only as part of the Members Attorney Program article series)

Senate Follows House’s Suit and Approves Pallone-Thune TRACED Act

The U.S. Senate passed S. 151, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, Thursday, Dec. 19, with unanimous consent addressing concerns of legitimate businesses in the accounts receivable management industry and directing the Federal Communications Commission to engage in several rulemakings and reports to Congress on call blocking and call authentication.

ACA International’s advocacy team worked with lawmakers to successfully secure changes in the legislation on behalf of members and the industry. ACA Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey and Mark Brennan, partner at Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, D.C. recently discussed the ins and outs of the legislation and ACA’s advocacy efforts on ACA Cast.

Read a recap of the top articles from January through May here.

ACA Daily is your source for accounts receivable management industry news and updates on education, advocacy and events for industry professionals and members. Subscribe here and watch for exciting things to come in 2020!


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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