Seventeen US states and the District of Columbia have announced new regulations for debt collection during the pandemic. Many rules ban collection agencies from garnishing stimulus payments. New York announced a temporary halt to collections of student and medical debt while the District of Columbia passed legislation in April to ban collection agencies from calling, writing or messaging consumers about their debts until sixty days after the COVID-19 emergency ends.
With elective surgeries cancelled, collection agencies have seen an increase in demand to recover past-due bills from healthcare providers, Some agencies are focusing on updating consumer databases while collections are down. However, remote working has raised security issues for some agencies who handle debtors' personal and financial information. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has encouraged credit reporting agencies to continue credit reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic but has asked them to provide leeway to those who are struggling to pay their debts. They have also relaxed enforcement of dispute investigation timelines in some cases to help collection agencies who are short-staffed due to COVID-19.
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