Tue, Mar 28, 2000 7:32 PM
Re: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Privacy Rule, 16 CFR Part 313 Comment
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am writing to urge the FTC to revise the proposed rulemaking in connection with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The current rule allows an interpretation of the Act which would define third-party debt collectors as "financial institutions" whose interactions with consumers could constitute "customer relationships," bringing such clearly adversarial relationships into the scope of the Act.
The litigation which has resulted from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") clearly shows the problems which will arise from the current, ambiguous definitions. A clear statement that debt collectors are not financial institutions is imperative to avoid the kind of litigious mischief which has been fostered by the FDCPA. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act is not intended to apply to the interactions between collection agents and account debtors and the potential for harm is too great to leave this possibility unstated.
This law firm is not a financial institution under the laws of Georgia or the United States. No customer relationship can even be implied between my firm and any debtor against whom I am undertaking collection activity. My customer is the account creditor, and any other interpretation would be directly contrary to Georgia's rules mandating that I zealously represent my client.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this very important Proposed Rule.
James W. Hays