While ACA maintains that its 3,500 members have "long been committed to making debt collection a more consumer-friendly experience," its idea of friendly stretches credulity. While the consumer bureau has proposed that collectors limit phone attempts to reach debtors to six a week, the ACA's idea was quite different — to limit "collection call attempts to no more than six times per day per unique debt.” That adds up to 42 calls a week, multiplied by however many individual debts someone owes. Does that sort of harassment sound reasonable to anyone but a debt collector?
As the first step in a lengthy review process, the consumer bureau last month outlined proposals to prohibit collection of debts that can't be substantiated, require that collectors make debt details clear to debtors, make disputing a debt easy, and limit excessive communications to debtors. Neither consumer advocates nor industry representatives have fully embraced the ideas — which might mean the consumer bureau has hit the right balance.