Yesterday the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a new set of rules that would let debt collectors text you.
The rules were proposed as amendments to the Fair Debt Collections Act. Passed in 1977, it establishes legal protection from abusive debt collection practices. The new rules would:
- Establish a clear, bright-line rule limiting call attempts and telephone conversations: Limiting collectors to no more than seven attempts by telephone per week. Once a conversation takes place, the collector has to wait a week before calling again.
- Clarify consumer protection requirements for certain consumer-facing debt collection disclosures: Collectors would have to send a disclosure to consumers with plain-language information about the debt and relation consumer protections.
- Clarify how debt collectors can communicate with consumers: Debt collectors may lawfully use newer technologies like voicemails, emails, and texts.
- Prohibit suits and threats of suit on time-barred debts and require communication before credit reporting: Collectors can’t sue or threaten to sue if the collector knows or should know that the statute of limitations has expired.
There are no limits to how many electronic messages that a collector could send a consumer. But consumers can opt out from receiving them. Collectors will also be able to DM you on social media, as long as it isn’t “viewable by a potentially wide array of the consumer’s social or professional colleagues.”