A bill containing language to eliminate a debt buyer's obligation to send annual consumer privacy notices under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act received approval by voice vote this week in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt buyers from sharing with third parties any information they collect from consumers, but GLB rules nevertheless require buyers to send notices explaining where the information is shared and how it is used and protected. The cost to the industry to do this is an estimated $25 million annually, according to DBA International, a trade association for debt buyers.
The bill that passed is HR 6312, the Credit Union, Bank, and Thrift Regulatory Relief Act of 2008. The language that offers debt buyers relief from the GLB requirement was folded into the larger bill from a standalone bill, HR 1967, which was introduced in early 2007.
DBA has lobbied on behalf of the bill for more than a year and said there was broad bipartisan support to remove the requirement. "The cost of the mailings to our members was one thing, but the administration costs of handling the incoming calls from consumers who were confused over the intent of the notice was equally troubling," said Kristin Dougherty, president of DBA International, in a statement. DBA plans to continue lobbying to ensure the bill's passage in the Senate.