New Technology and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

Association of Business Training
December 3, 2013 — 850 views  

Debt collection has been quite a difficult task for collectors for a long time. But as technology started making the world a lot smaller and accessible, it brought in new opportunities for debt collectors to trace their debtors. Telephone, emails, text messages and so on have made it quite easy for debt collectors to reach the debtors.

In fact, debt collectors have not just restricted themselves to these options. They have even started tracking down their customers with the help of social networking accounts like Facebook and Twitter. This has started invading the privacy of consumers who feel that this approach of debt collectors is totally wrong.

Though Fair Debt Collections Practices Act permits debt collectors to use all kind of communication mediums to reach their customers, it has also given down certain limitations. Here is a look in detail on which services can help debt collectors and which cannot.

  • Using Social Networking Sites for Debt Collection

These are one of the favorites for debt collectors because almost everyone is on some form of social networking site. Plus, people on such sites keep updating their personal information which makes it very easy for the debt collectors to track down the debtors. There have been cases in the past when debt collectors posed as friends to get information about customers. Learning from all such cases, few guidelines have been given to debt collectors which they need to follow while using such mediums. According to certain parts of the guidelines, collectors are not allowed to communicate with debtors by faking their identity. They also cannot threaten or harass the debtors on such sites.

  • Using Emails for Debt Collection

Though emails have been around for quite some time now, FDCPA has also given out certain guidelines to make sure that debtors are not harassed by debt collectors via electronic mail. Also, emails are one of the most common tools used by debt collectors to reach their debtors. To avoid potential violation of the law, some collection companies have started using private electronic mail servers which require the debtor to confirm his/her identity.  It also requires the debtor to give his/her consent to continue communicating via this medium.

  • Using Cell Phones for Debt Collection

According to FDCPA, debt collectors can continue reaching their debtors through their mobile numbers, but they will have to follow a few practices. They cannot call their debtors at inconvenient times. Also, the collector needs to specify in the beginning itself as to why the call has been made.

  • Using Text Messages for Debt Collection

Even with text messages, debt collectors have to follow somewhat similar practices as with calling their debtors on the phone. This means that collectors won’t be allowed to contact their debtors through text messages at inconvenient times. Also, collectors will have to take prior permission from debtors when it comes to sending confidential messages, as there are chances that the message might be read by a third party.

Association of Business Training