Next year Debt Collectors Can Message You Through Text, Facebook

Person using an iPhone to text.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a rule last week that lets debt collectors reach you through new communication channels. Now they will also be able to text you or reach you through Facebook (via CBS).

Debt Texting Collection

The rule [PDF] lets debt collectors send unlimited texts, emails, and direct messages on social media platforms. Collectors must include instructions to opt out with each message and can’t call you more than seven times per week. But the rule doesn’t stipulate that debt collectors have to ask for your consent before contacting you in this manner.

“Even though there are some wins in here, the bureau has really fallen short of protecting consumers,” said Yvette Garcia, litigation counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, an advocacy group.

“This is a terrible time to create more burdens for people who have debts. This certainly does not make it easier for them to recover from the economic hit of the pandemic,” Garcia added.

Jay Gonsalves, president of Action Collection Agencies in Boston, called it a “win-win” claiming:

We’re hearing more and more from consumers that they don’t want to talk to us on the phone. Nobody does anymore. Everyone communicates with text.

But according to a survey [PDF] in 2017 from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, revealed that only 1% of debtors said their preferred method of contact was text or social media.

Additionally, the FTC notes that letting debt collectors text and email people opens up a bigger avenue for fraud and scams.

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