Keeping up with all the goings on in the ARM Industry can feel like a full-time job. That’s why we at insideARM try to bring you the biggest news that we think you should know about each week. Last week’s news included the FTC’s intentions to work with state attorneys general, the CFPB’s General Counsel and his comments on medical debt, and an 11th Circuit case that focuses on credit reporting disputes, reasonable investigations, and the FCRA. Read on for a breakdown of these pieces and why we felt you needed to hear about them.

Tuesday, we focused on news from Ballard Spahr regarding the FTC’s three-part report to Congress on its collaboration with state attorneys general. Part I of the report focused on current collaborative efforts between the FTC and AGs, Part II involved a discussion of best practices for better collaboration between the two, and Part III provided Congress with legislative recommendations so that the FTC and AGs can collaborate more effectively. This is important because the report is all in the name of protecting consumers and, often, when groups discuss consumer protection with Congress, that can mean future regulations or an expansion of authority. That appears to be the aim here as the FTC outlined what they’ve done, what can be improved, and how Congress can help them achieve that, namely allowing the FTC to pursue actions against “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.”

On Wednesday, we highlighted a Troutman Pepper article about the General Counsel of the CFPB giving a speech at an NCLC spring training event. The speech focused on medical debt, landlord-tenant collections, and the credit reporting of both. While medical debt has long been a focus of the CFPB, the discussion around consumer complaints about landlords using “tenant screening” could evidence a new side focus for the Bureau. This speech is especially noteworthy given where it took place. As we have previously discussed, the NCLC is an organization looking to influence legislatures regarding debt collection and further the stereotype that debt collectors are the bad guys. All those in the ARM industry, and particularly those collecting medical adn land-lord tenant debt should be paying attention. 

Last, we brought you an article on Thursday about an interesting 11th Circuit decision that may shake up how furnishers handle consumer credit reporting disputes. In a case where the consumers and furnisher disagreed on the legal validity of a debt the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals brought some clarity to how a credit reporting dispute (and subsequent FCRA suit) will play out. The Court held that, though a legal inaccuracy can rise to the level of an FCRA violation, a violation only occurs when a legal inaccuracy is “objectively and readily verifiable.” This is an important development for the 11th Circuit as furnishers can now be confident in credit reporting debts where the question of the debt’s validity hinges on unsettled law. While this does place some burden on furnishers to be well-versed in the laws of their state/circuit, it also makes their decision easier in credit reporting and performing reasonable investigations for disputes on certain accounts.

Thank you for reading our weekly recap. For the recap from the week of April 22nd, click here.

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