NCLC Calls on Congress to Restore Federal Protections Against Abusive Debt Collection

Contact us at Vujovic Law to see how we can help stop the abusive creditor tactics described in the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision described below:

In a decision authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court ruled in Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc. that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)—the key federal law that prohibits late night debt collection calls, threats, harassment of neighbors, and contacts after the consumer tells the debt collector to stop—did not apply to Santander. Because Santander was collecting debts it bought from a different lender, the Supreme Court held that it did not qualify under one of the FDCPA’s definitions of debt collector, which covers companies that regularly collect debts owed or due another.

“The Supreme Court did not address a separate definition of debt collector that looks at whether the company’s principal purpose is debt collection,” clarified National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) staff attorney April Kuehnhoff. “Debt buyers are still covered under the FDCPA if they meet the principal purpose test,” she added.

“Today’s decision is bound to lead to consumer confusion since consumers won’t know whether or not the FDCPA protections apply to the debt buyer contacting them,” said NCLC attorney Margot Saunders. “The FDCPA is a 40-year-old law written before the rise of the modern debt buying industry. To ensure that consumers are fully protected from abusive debt collection activities, the onus is now clearly on Congress to amend the FDCPA to clarify that all debt buyers are debt collectors covered by the statute. This will not only protect consumers but also prevent a race to the bottom as debt buyers move to restructure their companies in an attempt to avoid having to comply with federal consumer protection statutes.”

FREEZE KIDS’ CREDIT TO GUARD AGAINST ID THEFT

FREEZE KIDS’ CREDIT TO GUARD AGAINST ID THEFT: ADVISES NC ATTORNEY GENERAL TO PARENTS

North Carolina Parents are now able to use security freezes to protect children’s credit

NC Parents now have a new tool to help protect their children’s credit from fraud according to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

North Carolina House Bill 607 took effect January 1, 2016 and gives parents and guardians the ability to freeze the credit reports of all children under age 16.

“A security freeze locks down your credit report to keep identity thieves from opening accounts and racking up debts in your name,” Cooper said. “ID theft can strike victims of any age and now parents can protect their kids’ credit from the very beginning.”

In the past, the major credit bureaus have said that they could not freeze credit reports for minors who had not yet established any credit. The new law requires credit bureaus to create and freeze a child’s credit report upon request of a parent or guardian.

A security freeze or credit freeze is one of the best ways to keep criminals from being able to take out a loan or open a credit card in someone else’s name. A freeze blocks access to credit unless you have given your permission, meaning that a criminal who has stolen your child’s identity will not be able to use it to open new accounts.

How to get a security freeze for your children

  • Request a security freeze for your child under age 16 by mail, by telephone, or online. Visit ncdoj.gov/creditfreeze for contact information.
  • To lift a freeze permanently or temporarily, use the PIN or password established when setting up the freeze.
  • It may cost up to $5 per credit bureau to place or lift a freeze on a child’s credit.
  • A freeze is free if the child already has a credit report or has been a victim of identity theft.

North Carolina adults can freeze their credit reports for free online with each of the three major credit bureaus, with information available at ncdoj.gov.  Once your credit is frozen, you can thaw it when needed to take out credit yourself.

For more tips on protecting your identity and cleaning up the damage ID theft can cause, visit ncdoj.gov or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina.