To help Spanish-speaking consumers understand their rights when dealing with debt collectors, the Federal Trade Commission has created a Spanish-language graphic novel, Cobradores de Deuda, which describes the rules debt collectors must follow and what consumers should do if they discover the collectors are not doing so.
Its part of the FTCs fotonovela series, a campaign to promote consumer education and protection in the Latino community. Earlier issues focused on government imposters and income scams. Consumers can order all three free publications at ftc.gov/bulkorder, or read and download them at ftc.gov/fotonovela.
Collections & Credit Risk last month published an article written by Astrid Rial, president and founder of Arial International, reflecting on the Debt Collection and the Latino Community Roundtable hosted in October by the FTC and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The roundtable examined how colllection and credit reporting impact Latinos - particularly those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
The roundtable gathered consumer advocates, industry representatives, state and federal regulators and academics to exchange experiences on issues including:
- an overview of the Latino community, their finances and the collectors who contact them;
- pre-litigation collection from Latino consumers;
- the experience of LEP Latinos in debt collection litigation;
- credit reporting issues among LEP Latinos;
- developing improved strategies for educating and reaching out to LEP Latinos about debt collection.
The presentations highlighted the importance of addressing Spanish language collections in the U.S., according to Rial.
The Department of Commerce and Census Bureau report that more than 63% of all LEP individuals in the U.S. are of Latino origin and Spanish is the predominant language spoken by both foreign-born and native-born LEP individuals.
As Rial pointed out, the CFPB - in its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making - is gathering information on LEP issues involving collections.
"This is the industrys chance to offer input before regulators write rules that impact collections. It behooves collection companies to evaluate and strengthen their internal processes for serving LEP Latinos," Rial wrote.