When Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., in 1978, it provided not only for private rights of action by debtors against debt collectors, it also provided for administrative enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission. While defense against a class action is certainly a concern for debt collectors, the lawyer advising debt collectors does well to keep in mind and advise the client as to the administrative proceedings that may be brought to bear. As a resource to the class action defense lawyer, we set forth the text of the administrative enforcement provision of the FDCPA:
§ 1692l. Administrative enforcement
(a) Federal Trade Commission
Compliance with this subchapter shall be enforced by the Commission, except to the extent that enforcement of the requirements imposed under this subchapter is specifically committed to another agency under subsection (b) of this section. For purpose of the exercise by the Commission of its functions and powers under the Federal Trade Commission Act [15 U.S.C.A. § 41 et seq.], a violation of this subchapter shall be deemed an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of that Act. All of the functions and powers of the Commission under the Federal Trade Commission Act are available to the Commission to enforce compliance by any person with this subchapter, irrespective of whether that person is engaged in commerce or meets any other jurisdictional tests in the Federal Trade Commission Act, including the power to enforce the provisions of this subchapter in the same manner as if the violation had been a violation of a Federal Trade Commission trade regulation rule.
(b) Applicable provisions of law
Compliance with any requirements imposed under this subchapter shall be enforced under--
(1) section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act [12 U.S.C.A. § 1818], in the case of--
(A) national banks, and Federal branches and Federal agencies of foreign banks, by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency;
(B) member banks of the Federal Reserve System (other than national banks), branches and agencies of foreign banks (other than Federal branches, Federal agencies, and insured State branches of foreign banks), commercial lending companies owned or controlled by foreign banks, and organizations operating under section 25 or 25(a) [FN1] of the Federal Reserve Act [12 U.S.C.A. § § 601 et seq., 611 et seq.], by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and
(C) banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (other than members of the Federal Reserve System) and insured State branches of foreign banks, by the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
(2) section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act [12 U.S.C.A. § 1818], by the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, in the case of a savings association the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
(3) the Federal Credit Union Act [12 U.S.C.A. § 1751 et seq.], by the National Credit Union Administration Board with respect to any Federal credit union;
(4) subtitle IV of Title 49, by the Secretary of Transportation, with respect to all carriers subject to the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board;
(5) part A of subtitle VII of Title 49, by the Secretary of Transportation with respect to any air carrier or any foreign air carrier subject to that part; and
(6) the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921 [7 U.S.C.A. § 181 et seq.] (except as provided in section 406 of that Act [7 U.S.C.A. § § 226, 227]), by the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to any activities subject to that Act.
The terms used in paragraph (1) that are not defined in this subchapter or otherwise defined in section 3(s) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813(s)) shall have the meaning given to them in section 1(b) of the International Banking Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3101).
(c) Agency powers
For the purpose of the exercise by any agency referred to in subsection (b) of this section of its powers under any Act referred to in that subsection, a violation of any requirement imposed under this subchapter shall be deemed to be a violation of a requirement imposed under that Act. In addition to its powers under any provision of law specifically referred to in subsection (b) of this section, each of the agencies referred to in that subsection may exercise, for the purpose of enforcing compliance with any requirement imposed under this subchapter any other authority conferred on it by law, except as provided in subsection (d) of this section.
(d) Rules and regulations
Neither the Commission nor any other agency referred to in subsection (b) of this section may promulgate trade regulation rules or other regulations with respect to the collection of debts by debt collectors as defined in this subchapter.