I’ve attended many industry lobbying events because I truly believe working together we can make a positive difference. I always learn something from presenters and attendees and I am able to share my message with elected officials. Recently, I learned some VERY valuable lessons at my 3rd ACA International Fly-in event in Washington D.C.
As long as we communicate, our elected officials will receive the message. While waiting for my scheduled meeting with Senator Hatch’s staff, I watched his two receptionists take close to 100 calls from constituents giving input on issues. I learned they keep a tally of every caller’s opinions and provide the Senator with updates during their office briefings every morning.
We don’t need a special occasion or invite to contact our officials. Washington D.C. is extremely busy with literally hundreds of associations lobbying their representatives. Our message and concerns will quickly be forgotten if we aren’t visiting their offices, calling them on the phone or writing them letters. We each need to frequently communicate our message!
At least two FTC directors understand our industry. During our group’s initial briefing at the ACA’s D.C. office, Chuck Harwood, Acting Director for the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection and Chris Koegel, Assistant Director for the FTC Division of Financial Practices, bravely visited our group. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect from them. I was extremely surprised and pleased with their directness and honesty about our concerns. I could be wrong, but it appears Mr. Harwood and Mr. Koegel understand our industry and how some of the archaic regulations and current lawsuits unfairly restrict our abilities. Only time will tell if the FTC’s actions follow their words. Keep your fingers crossed!
My elected Representatives are focused on being “fair.” I had three very good meetings with my Representatives or their staff members. Interestingly, all three offices used the term “fair” in our discussions. They said it seemed only “fair” the confusion around the FDCPA should be resolved. And all agreed it seemed reasonable to contact cell phone numbers using modern technology especially since the individual knowingly entered into a legal debt.
Personally, this was my most successful fly-in event discussing the issues with my Representatives. I’m very pleased with ACA and their team of experts. They are doing a great job fighting for our issues. Now WE need to step in and help!
This article was written by Dave R