Having an unpaid debt in collections is stressful enough. You’re worried about your finances and your credit score has taken a dive. Then your phone starts ringing off the hook from callers demanding repayment. And now the rules about how debt collectors can get in touch with you are about to change.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has finalized an update to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA was passed more than four decades ago to define the rules that debt collectors must follow. It has now been revised to account for modern communication methods like social media messages, text messages, and emails.
The changes will take effect on November 30, 2021. You may not notice anything new about how debt collectors contact you before then. But it’s important to know what is permitted now and what will be permitted in the future. That will help you spot harassment and unfair practices.
Here are some of the notable changes to expect:
- Phone calls: There’s currently no limit on how often a debt collector can call you. The new rule states that third-party debt collectors can only call you once a day. If they speak to you, they can’t call back for at least a week. You will also be able to ask them to stop calling you, whereas right now you must request that by sending a letter.
- Text messages and emails: Third-party debt collectors can send you text messages and emails under the new rule. However, each one must include opt-out instructions. They must also be sent at a reasonable and convenient time.
- Social media messages: Debt collectors will be able to send you private messages on social media. They can’t, however, post anything that your friends, followers, or the public could see. Each social media message must contain opt-out instructions.
Many of your rights as a debtor will remain unchanged. But these updates could expose you to a flurry of messages for every account you have in collections until you opt-out. If a debt collector doesn’t follow the conditions you’ve set, you may be entitled to compensation through a debt harassment case.
Our Chicago attorneys are committed to protecting your consumer rights. Contact Markoff Leinberger today at 888-517-9115 to request a free case evaluation.