A Bit of Grace

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has finally agreed to bend under the strain of numerous requests from financial industry participants and 255 bi-partisan House members and 41 senators, who requested that the CFPB delay the implementation of the new Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosures (TRID) requirements.  Although the TRID will still go into effect as of August 1, 2015, the CFPB has agreed to take into account the lenders’ good faith efforts to comply with the TRID.

The CFPB’s announcement should not be interpreted to mean that lenders are not required to use the new forms.  Lenders must comply with the new Rules and use the TRID forms as of August 1, 2015, but now lenders can breathe a bit easier knowing that they will have time to test their systems and work out any technical glitches that may arise with the use of the new forms.

The CFPB has a section on its website dedicated to the TRID implementation, including guidance documents and example forms.  Please see http://www.consumerfinance.gov/regulatory-implementation/tila-respa/.

Although the CFPB has claimed that its guidance documents and the commentary to the new Rules provide all of the answers, we have found situations in which there is not a clear answer on where to include certain information on the TRID.  Thus, it is reasonable to expect that the CFPB may be providing additional guidance and clarifications regarding the Rules after the August 1 implementation date.  Stay posted for any updates.

FCC Chairman Proposes New TCPA Rules

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The FCC is ready to rule on long-standing petitions seeking clarifications of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and related FCC regulations. On May 27, 2015, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a proposed regulatory ruling to fellow commissioners, which would address issues raised in more than 20 pending petitions. The fact sheet summarizing the chairman’s proposal foreshadows bad news for legitimate businesses using automatic telephone dialing technology.

The fact sheet lumps scammer calls like those from perky “Rachel” of the mysterious and ambiguous “Cardholder Services” with those from legitimate businesses. The fact sheet cites the 214,000 consumer complaints about robocalls. No breakdown is given as to how many of these complaints involved con artists and how many related to businesses calling, for example, to collect debt. The tone of the fact sheet provides no comfort. Its preamble states the plan is to “close loopholes and strengthen consumer protections.”

The FCC will vote on the new proposal during its Open Commission Meeting scheduled for June 18, 2015. In the meantime, companies using automatic telephone dialing technology should plan to take action to comply with whatever comes from the FCC. There will be no notice and comment period and whatever passes at the Open Commission Meeting will become effective immediately upon release.

For an overview of the new provisions and their implications, please visit our official update page.

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Offer of Judgment Can Moot TCPA Class

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Deciding to step in to resolve a splint in the Circuits, the United States Supreme Court announced today that it granted a petition for a writ of certiorari in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857. That means that the Court will finally address an issue left open in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523 (2013): “Whether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his claims,” even when the claim is pursued in a class action. Continue reading this entry

UDAAP Council Weekly UDAAP Standards Report - 5/6/15

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Every week, courts around the United States issue decisions addressing aspects of civil UDAAP claims. In an effort to illuminate the UDAAP standards, below is a sampling of some of this week’s UDAAP decisions on the meaning of unfair, deceptive, and abusive.

Unfair or Deceptive

A debtor could not state a claim for unfair or deceptive practices under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act when he alleged that a debt collector had unfairly and deceptively filed a debt collection suit at the main downtown courthouse instead of at the branch courthouse twenty miles nearer his home. The downtown courthouse was a proper venue, and the case could have been transferred to the branch courthouse on request. Moreover, his suit was barred by Illinois’ absolute litigation privilege. Mehra v. Law Offices of Keith S. Shindler, Ltd., United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Continue reading this entry

U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Review of Robins v. Spokeo, Inc.

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The Supreme Court recently accepted review of one of the most talked about privacy class action and consumer cases of the past year, Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., No. 13-1339 (U.S.). The issue before the Court is whether Congress can confer Article III standing on a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, but who can recover statutorily imposed penalties for a mere violation of a federal statute.

In Spokeo, Thomas Robins alleges that “people search engine,” Spokeo Inc., disseminated inaccurate information about him on Spokeo.com, a website that aggregates publicly available information. According to Robins, Spokeo acted as a consumer reporting agency (CRA) when it displayed his information on Spokeo.com. Robins claims that Spokeo violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by failing to provide him with mandatory notices. Robins further claims that Spokeo “caused actual harm” to his employment prospects by reporting that he is wealthy and holds an advanced degree, when, in fact, he experienced difficulty securing employment. Continue reading this entry