Debt Collectors have specific rules they have to follow when contacting consumers about their debts. These rules were first created by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in the 1970s and a lot has changed in the way we communicate now. While the key rules won’t change, an update came into effect on November 30, 2021.
Practices that still apply:
– Debt collectors cannot call before 8am and after 9pm local time.
– Debt collectors cannot contact you at your workplace if you ask them not to do so.
– Debt collectors cannot harass or threaten you or discuss your debts with anyone else besides you.
– Debt collectors cannot contact or harass you if you have asked them in writing to stop.
These rules were great when they were first established but they needed to clarify any electronic communications between debt collectors and debtors. The rules apply to each and every debt in collections, so while debt collectors can’t contact you repeatedly about the same debt, they may contact you about other debts.
– Third party debt collectors are allowed to call once a day. If they get a hold of you, they are not allowed to call for at least another seven days.
– Consumers now have the right to ask collectors to stop contacting them over the phone. There is no need to ask in writing once a consumer asks over the phone.
– Collectors are not allowed to email a consumer at work, if they know it’s a business email address.
– Collectors are allowed to send private messages over social media but the messages must have an “opt-out” option and cannot be public, or visible to anyone else.
– Any electronic communication by a debt collector must have an “opt-out” option.
This is a massive change in the way debt collectors collect from consumers. Know your rights and contact a consumer protection law firm if you feel that you need one.
To learn more: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/11/30/2020-24463/debt-collection-practices-regulation-f