Along with a proposed debt collection rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and a proposed rule related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) coming from the Federal Communication Commission, 2019 is shaping up to be a year where regulators and lawmakers are hyper-focused on privacy issues, judging from some recent developments.
First, the California state legislature is working on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a law that is modeled after Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation. The CCPA will give consumers more power to know who is collecting data about them and grants consumers the right to access their personal information held by companies that are subject to the law.
On the heels of the CCPA’s enactment, the Department of Health and Human Services recently released a set of volunteer cyber-security guidelines for entities that collect and maintain patient records — including companies that provide products or services to healthcare providers.
As the CFPB has shifted its focus more toward educational efforts and away from enforcement, there are some compliance experts in the credit and collection industry who expect more states to ratchet up their supervisory and enforcement activities, especially in states like Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.
Collection agency owners and executives should be taking proactive steps to meet with state and federal representatives to make sure the message about the importance of the accounts receivable management industry is being heard at the proper levels and by enough people to make a difference. Many in the industry have expressed concern about the proliferation of new laws, especially at the state level, that impact the operations of collection agencies, debt buyers, and other members of the credit and collection industry.
There is still time to affect change, be it in the case of the CCPA, the CFPB’s proposed debt collection rule, or the FCC’s new rule related to the TCPA. The only way to effect change is to stand up and be heard! File a comment. Send a letter. Make the time to meet with your state representative or Congressman. As the saying goes, if you don’t do anything about a situation, you don’t have the right to complain about it afterwards.