insideARM previously published articles about Colorado's bi-annual Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA) report and its planning of a meeting about debt collection rules. On July 30, 2018, this meeting occured, but not much substance was provided by the state regulators.
Industry sources at the meeting shared that it was run by Jan Zavislan, the Interim Administrator, who made it clear that his role was temporary and that the new Attorney General (AG) once elected will be able to appoint a new Administrator.
According to sources, the meeting was primarily a “listening session” with no official prepared statement. Instead, Zavislan sought comments and statements of those present. Some highlights of industry representative comments include:
- Voicing concern about the idea of requiring licensing of process servers in Colorado. One representative noted that process servers already have to comply with the policies and procedures of the company that retained them. Another representative noted that requiring the licensing of process servers will ultimately pass further costs onto consumers.
- Suggestions that Colorado move over to NMLS for licensing, following the direction taken by many other states. This would be a win-win as it would allow consumers to easily look up a debt collector’s license and it would make the licensing process smoother for companies.
- Advocating for modernizing the CFDCPA to allow for newer methods of communication.
- Stating the need for more communication between the AG’s office and the industry. One representative noted that there has not been an advisory opinion since 2006. Despite the lack of guidance from the AG’s office on how to comply with the laws, industry companies are being penalized with arbitrary enforcement actions.
- Pointing out the gaps in the complaint process, including no communication when a complaint is closed, no filtering of complaints that have nothing to do with the practices of the collection agency or firm, and the need for better handling of duplicate complaints.
Zavislan responded to some of these comments. Regarding licensing and arbitrary enforcement actions, he stated that the focus is on unlicensed companies that have a history of unlicensed activity. There was no substantive response when an industry representative asked about the possibility that the company may not have known it needed to be licensed. Regarding consumer complaints, Zavislan noted that the office added a compliance administrator role that will work on better filtering complaints before they are sent to companies.
Zavislan also referenced that any potential new rules would be delayed until there is a new administrator.
While there was limited information shared by the Interim Administrator, this meeting allowed industry representatives to voice their concerns regarding the regulatory environment in Colorado. The trend seems to revolve around the desire to streamline processes such as licensing and complaints and to improve communication between the AG’s office and industry companies. As noted by one industry representative, the true beneficiary of addressing these concerns is the consumer. With the uncertainty of what a newly-elected AG will do, it remains to be seen what will come of the comments made at this meeting.