b'Debt Collection + SettlementDuring 2020, Goodwin tracked 32 federal and stateSales Rule (TSR)a statute not previously a common enforcement actions related to debt collection andenforcement mechanism for regulators in this space. debt settlement services. This number represents aState attorneys general from Arizona, Massachusetts, significant increase from 2019, during which GoodwinMaryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York, and tracked 14 actions, and represents a marked changePennsylvania, as well as the New York DFS, all also from the 2016-2019 trend of declining enforcementinitiated or resolved enforcement actions in the debt actions in this space. In total, federal and statecollection and settlement space this yearcollectively agencies secured over $63 million in civil moneyaccounting for 12 enforcement actions tracked by penalties, restitution, and consumer relief as a result ofGoodwin (including one action brought jointly with settlements and court judgments (excluding suspendedthe CFPB). State attorneys general and agencies judgments). This represents a significant decrease inmost frequently invoked state consumer protection total recoveries from 2019 ($129.5 million). statutes. As in 2019, however, Goodwin also tracked The most important regulatory development in the spaceenforcement actions by state entities alleging violations in 2020 was the CFPBs issuance of its final rule underof the FDCPA and CFPA. New in 2020, Goodwin also the FDCPA modernizing the regulation of debt collectors.tracked a state enforcement action alleging violation The final rule was intended to bring the FDCPA in to theof TILA, a statute which had not been implicated in this modern age, although certain provisions, such as thespace in 2019. Similar to actions brought under other numerical limits for telephone calls, have the effect ofstatutes in the debt collection arena, that action alleged increasing protections for consumers.defendant violated TILA through misrepresentations as to the nature of the relief provided and of consumers obligations. In addition, TILA-specific disclosure Key Trends requirements were alleged to be violated.Like last year, the CFPB was more active than any other federal or state agency in initiating and settling actions2020 Highlightsrelated to debt collection and debt settlement services. The 13 CFPB actions tracked in 2020 (including oneCFPB Issues New Final Rule Modernizing the FDCPAaction brought jointly with the New York AttorneyIn October, the CFPB announced a final rule General) represent an increase from the six actionsimplementing the FDCPA. The CFPBs revisions to tracked in 2019, and the five such actions trackedRegulation F strengthen protections for consumers in 2018. The CFPB also finalized new regulationswho communicate with debt collectors and clarify implementing the FDCPA, demonstrating a commitmentthe application of the FDCPA (first passed in 1977) to continued regulation of debt collection as well. to modern technologies, including email and text The FTC remains the second most dominant federalmessages. The new rule includes call frequency actor in this space. In 2020, Goodwin tracked six FTCrequirements, clarifying that a debt collector actions, nearly equal to the five such actions trackedpresumptively violates the FDCPAs prohibition on last year. Like 2019, the FTC actions primarily relied onrepeated or continuous telephone calls if the debt alleged violations of the FTC Act, whereas the CFPB- collector places a telephone call to a person more initiated actions often alleged unfair or deceptive actsthan seven times within a seven-day period or within in violation of the CFPA. Continuing a new developmentseven days after engaging in a telephone conversation first observed in 2019, Goodwin also tracked manywith the consumer. Conversely, if a debt collector enforcement actions this year under the Telemarketingdoes not call a consumer that frequently, the debt 32'