It is widely estimated that about 70 million Americans have bills in groups at any given time. This means that a large portion of the population fully understands how frustrating, annoying, and intimidating calls are from debt collectors.
It could be on the verge of getting worse. That’s because the new regulation finalized by the US Financial Consumer Protection Bureau (CFPB) will allow debt collectors to contact you by text, email, and instant messaging on social media.
Calls and messages will now continue to appear
The regulation was finalized late last month, and it will go into effect on October 30, 2020, giving people time to prepare themselves.
In a statement, the CFPB was quick to put the spotlight New restrictions on contacts that collection agencies must follow. This includes limiting collectors to no more than seven phone calls within seven days or calling back within seven days after having an actual conversation with the debtor.
The final rule requires collectors to contact debtors digitally – through texts, emails, social media, etc. – to give the people receiving the messages a clear chance to pull out. But there are no guidelines about what an opt-out will look like, and there is no limit to the number of digital messages message aggregators can send.
Consumer advocacy organizations were quick to build up The new regulations, noting that people with multiple debts remain open to a barrage of phone calls and that people should be able to give consent to be contacted electronically rather than having to withdraw.
Collectors are happy
In supposedly revealing remarks, Jay Gonsalves, former president of the Association of Credit and Collections Professionals, described the rule as a “win-win”. Collectors wanted to participate in the messaging game, as more Americans use text messages and emails to remind appointments and other services. Automated messages will also allow collectors to save money compared to phone calls.
What can you do?
Another aspect of the email that consumer advocates worry about is the potential for fraud. The National Center for Consumer Law advises people not to click on any links or attachments that come in spam.
Even if you have debt collection, You have the right to verify that you are really in debt That collectors are contacting you about. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act 1977 requires debt collectors to provide you with a detailed account of the debt if you request. You should also:
- Do not volunteer to pay old debts if you live in a country where it is located The statute of limitations on groups
- Never provide any personal information, such as a Social Security number or a bank account number
For now, consumers seem to have few options about the rule that goes into effect other than relying on the incoming Biden administration to scrap it. But there are also laws in place against harassment of creditors, and if a chain of digital messages reaches that level, you have legal options to seek relief.