Consumer advocates are up in arms about new regulations proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that were supposedly meant to limit the worst abuses in debt collection but instead would legalize a number of shady practices, HuffPost reported Wednesday.
The plan would allow debt collectors to call households every day, indefinitely, for each debt a consumer owes and could spam consumers with unlimited text messages and emails, at the same time being granted immunity for filing abusive, robo-signed lawsuits against people who do not actually owe any money.
"The new rules do a lot more to protect abusive debt collectors than consumers," National Consumer Law Center associate director Lauren Saunders told HuffPost.
Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of the federal consumer program at the U.S Public Interest Research Group, added the proposal will "invade the privacy of debtors and cause numerous harm and untold stress."
He emphasized the plan "would unleash already reckless debt collectors to intensify their abuses."
Debt collectors contact about 70 million Americans annually, according to HuffPost, and pose a particularly large problem for the elderly, who are more likely to fall victim to outright fraud than the younger generation.
Senior citizens are also more vulnerable, because, for the first time, they are bringing substantial loads of consumer debt accumulated earlier in life into retirement.
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