A short week was still not short on news affecting debt collection! In our efforts to bring you the information you need to see, we found the most important pieces of news from around the industry. Last week this came in the form of state law updates from Tennessee and Arizona, as well as a recent court case out of Texas. Keep on reading for highlights of what you need to know and why our editorial team thinks you need to know it!

On Wednesday, we focused on two state law updates: 

  • First, we brought you Tennessee's amendment to its Consumer Protection Act. The amendment added factors that a court may consider when determining the penalty for violating the statute, including the use of a complaint resolution process, prior restitution efforts, injury to the public, the public’s overall interest, and the state’s interest regarding the violation. The amendment extended the act’s protection for the elderly (over 60) to those under 18 and military service members. To avoid hefty fines, those working with consumers in Tennessee should review their policies and procedures to reconfirm they are complying with the Act.

  • The Second state law update came out of the Arizona Court of Appeals. The case involved a challenge of Arizona’s Predatory Debt Collection Act, which changed both the interest rate cap on medical debt and garnishment exemptions. The suit argued that vague language rendered the act unconstitutional. The appeals court disagreed and upheld the act's constitutionality. The Predatory Debt Collection Act will have a major effect on those collecting medical debt or post-judgment debt in Arizona and should be considered in any future placements or purchases of Arizona accounts.

Thursday, we brought you information about a Texas district court case. In Marks v. Javitch Block LLC, a consumer stated in a request for verification that it was only convenient for them to be contacted by email. When the collector’s response came through the USPS, the consumer filed an FDCPA suit. The Court found that, while a consumer can limit the time and place of a communication, the FDCPA does not permit them to opt out of conventional mail because that is a mode of communication. This decision is a win for collectors who can still feel confident sending physical mail despite a consumer’s preference but, it should also serve as a reminder of the potential traps in consumer communications as this type of preference language is becoming a common occurrence.

Thank you once again for coming to us to catch up on the latest in ARM industry news! Find a recap for the week of May 20th here.

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