While Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., in 1978 for the purpose of establishing certain that ethical guidelines for the collection of consumer debts, and to provide debtors with a means for challenging payoff demands and determining the validity and accuracy of asserted debts, it did not intend to foreclose States from enacting laws concerning debt collection practices. Several states, such as California, have enacted such laws, and defense attorneys must frequently defend against class actions filed under such State laws. Congress expressed its intent not to preempt State laws – “except to the extent that those laws are inconsistent” with the FDCPA – in § 1692n, set forth below. Congress also provided that the Federal Trade Commission debt collection practices from State laws or regulations under the provisions of § 1692o, also set forth below.
§ 1692n. Relation to State laws
This subchapter does not annul, alter, or affect, or exempt any person subject to the provisions of this subchapter from complying with the laws of any State with respect to debt collection practices, except to the extent that those laws are inconsistent with any provision of this subchapter, and then only to the extent of the inconsistency. For purposes of this section, a State law is not inconsistent with this subchapter if the protection such law affords any consumer is greater than the protection provided by this subchapter.
§ 1692o. Exemption for State regulation
The Commission shall by regulation exempt from the requirements of this subchapter any class of debt collection practices within any State if the Commission determines that under the law of that State that class of debt collection practices is subject to requirements substantially similar to those imposed by this subchapter, and that there is adequate provision for enforcement.