The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently concluded a seven-year revision process for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the law which protects citizens from overly-aggressive debt collectors. The new revisions will take effect on November 30th, 2021; if a 60-day extension is approved by the CFPB, the revisions will take effect on January 29th, 2022.
Let’s remember the fundamental rules against debt collection harassment, which remain unchanged. Debt collectors CANNOT:
- Harass or threaten you, including false threats of legal action.
- Contact you between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Contact your friends or relatives regarding your debt.
- Contact you at work if you request that they do not.
- Continue to contact you after you have requested in writing that they stop.
The revisions in question are more about means of communication for which legislation is still relatively new, such as texts and social media.
“With the vast changes in communications since the FDCPA was passed more than four decades ago, it is important to provide clear rules of the road,” said Kathleen Kraninger, former CFPB Director.
Here are some significant revisions to the FDCPA that will take effect. Keep in mind that these rules do not apply to banks, credit card companies, and other direct lenders – also known as “original creditors” – but only to third party debt collectors.
Texts and emails
Third party debt collectors may send text messages and/or emails in an attempt to collect a debt. However, these texts or emails must not be sent from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m., as with phone calls, and any text or email must include instructions for the consumer to opt out of receiving said messages.
Third party collectors may send private messages via social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, and others) in an attempt to collect a debt. These messages should not be viewable by anyone but the person who allegedly owes the debt (no “public” messages or posts) and, like text messages, must include an option to opt-out of receiving such messages.
Third party collectors may not, in the vast majority of cases, contact a consumer via an email address that the collector knows is used for business purposes by the consumer, commonly known as a “work email address.”
Third party collectors will be permitted to call you once per day. However, if they actually speak to you over the phone, they may not call again for seven days. If you ask the collector to stop calling you, the collector will need to comply.
Remember that these rules apply to each individual debt you may owe. If you ask a collector to stop calling you about a particular debt, they must respect your request to opt-out, but if you happen to owe another debt which the collector is also attempting to collect, they may still call you regarding the second debt and you will have to repeat the opt-out process for that form of communication.
Know Your Rights When It Comes to Debt Collectors
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from third-party debt collectors. The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to every state. In other words, everyone is protected by the FDCPA. The FDCPA is essentially a laundry list of what debt collectors can and cannot do while collecting a debt, as well as things debt collectors must do while collecting a debt. If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can get up to $1,000.00 in damages, plus the collection has to pay your attorney’s fees.
About Agruss Law Firm
Agruss Law Firm was founded in March 2012. Since then, they have quickly grown to include four lawyers, a paralegal, and several legal assistants. They are an entirely paperless operation, instead using digital case management software. The firm’s consumer rights practice helps consumers with debt collection harassment, robocalls, credit report problems, and deceptive business practices.
Agruss Law Firm, LLC
4809 N. Ravenswood Ave, Suite 419, Chicago, IL 60640